Developers celebrating a historic planning appeal victory claim their proposal for 1300 homes will allow Perth to “embrace its city status” and meet future housing demands.
The Pilkington Trust, who are behind the controversial Almond Valley scheme along with Stewart Milne Homes, have won their appeal against Perth and Kinross Council’s decision to reject their proposal back in May.
This was despite the local authority’s senior planning officer recommending approval.
Pending legal agreement, the sprawling housing scheme will be built on land located between Huntingtowerfield and Ruthvenfield.
A primary school and community and leisure facilities would also be provided.
The plan has been in the pipeline for more than 20 years, but now looks set to finally proceed following the decision by Allison Coard, the Scottish Government Reporter.
Ms Coard cites various factors for her decision, including the claim that Almond Valley will “meet development needs” of the area.
She also addresses potential flooding issues, drawing attention to phase one of the Almondbank Flood Protection Scheme which is currently under way. Phase two set to begin shortly.
In her report, Ms Coard also responds to local community concerns, with regard to the impact of the “large-scale” development.
“Methven Community Council mirror a large number of concerns…and question the need for so much housing,” she adds.
“The development would be phased over 17 years, there would be access to the neighbouring employment site and the location would be accessible to employment elsewhere in Perth.
“I’m satisfied that with the necessary new provision impacts on schools and the road network could be addressed.
“The site is in the local development plan. From my assessment, I am satisfied that with the appropriate conditions and legal agreement, a scheme which meets the relevant requirements of the development plan can be achieved.
“I find no other material consideration sufficient to lead me to conclude that the proposal is otherwise unacceptable.”
Jonathan Henson, of Savills, speaking on behalf of the Pilkington Trust, said he hoped the decision will bring an end to a “period of uncertainty” and claimed Almond Valley will help ensure Perth can “compete” with other cities in attracting new investment, helping it become an “ever more successful location” over the coming years.
“The proposal will allow Perth to embrace its city status and provide the necessary housing and infrastructure to cater for one of Scotland’s fastest growing populations,” he said.
“The appeal was submitted after Perth and Kinross councillors voted against the advice of their own legal team and planning officials. This decision reverses that.”
He continued: “The proposals have taken too many years to get to this stage, during which time we have got to know and understand the concerns of the local community.
“Moving forward, the Pilkington Trustees will continue to try to address these concerns and hope that the local community will work with us to deliver a neighbourhood where people want to live.”
However, Kenny Simpson, chair of Methven and District Community Council, said the decision has “gone against the wishes of the local community.”
“It seemed a foregone conclusion when Almond Valley was included in the local development plan by a Government Reporter,” he said.
“I personally believe that Almond Valley isn’t necessary as there has been planning permission granted for thousands of houses in and around Perth, with applications for thousands more houses currently in the pipeline.“
A 12-week period has been allowed to enable a legal planning agreement to be drawn up.