A major new development in the centre of Crieff could sound the death knell for local independent businesses, objectors warned councillors.
Despite their fears, councillors approved the application for a café/restaurant and retail space in the vacant building on the corner of High Street/James Square.
The former woollen mill shop is vacant and while everyone was keen to find a new use for the building the scale of the proposal – a 54 cover restaurant, separate coffee shop and large retail area – worried some.
“I fail to see what this proposed business and extra coffee shop would offer other than potentially putting small independents out of business,” claimed objector Stuart Leishman.
Joanna Davies said: ”There are already six cafes/eateries within a 30 second walk of the proposed site, as a local, the last thing Crieff needs is yet another café.”
Councillor Tom Gray, convener of the development control committee, acknowledged the community’s concerns but said that they weren’t valid reasons to refuse.
“As you are well aware there are many, many objections to more coffee shops in Crieff,” he told the committee.
“Such is the nature of commerce, people come and want to eat so people want to develop. Competition must defer to the market.”
Seconding him, Councillor John Kellas, said:”I think this fits perfectly with the desire of people to have a shopping experience and eat in the town. It will enhance Creiff as a tourist experience.”
The committee unanimously approved the application.
The same committee agreed the erection of a restaurant in Broxden Business Park, Lamberkine Drive, Perth.
The application has had a controversial past, winning approval at appeal after councillors initially rejected the proposal as it was felt the site would be best suited to a business use.
The plan before the council was a revised proposal with a public house element dropped from the project.
A drive through coffee facility which had been an area of concern to councillors and local residents remains in the plan.
A report before the committee noted that the restaurant will create 31 full-time jobs and a further 19 jobs during the construction phase.