A controversial supermarket plan would add “vitality and viability” to the centre of Crieff, a councillor has claimed.
Councillor Dave Cuthbert was speaking as a member of the Perth and Kinross Local Review Body which on Tuesday paved the the way for the development by granting permission in principle.
They were determining an appeal against refusal of an Aldi supermarket and another retail unit on land east of Duchlage Farm, Duchlage Road, Crieff.
The company’s initial attempt to gain planning permission was rejected under delegated powers as the site was earmarked for employment use and not a retail outlet in the area’s Local Development Plan.
At the meeting in the Dewar’s Centre the review body was told by planning consultant David Harrison that the application was in principle and was on a site adjacent to an area of land which already enjoyed planning permission for a supermarket.
Review body convener, Councillor Murray Lyall, was told by Mr Harrison there were 22 acres of employment land identified in the development plan in the Crieff area.
Mr Lyall said that he believed they had sufficient information before them to determine the matter and the main issues were the retail policy, the employment land policy and the listed farm buildings on the site.
With regard to the existing adjacent planning permission he said: ”There is capacity for both sites to exist for the benefit of Crieff.”
He maintained the loss of employment land would not be significant given other provision and the site has originally been zoned for retail use.
“I suspect this site would create jobs, a significant number of jobs,” he said, adding that there was also potential for improvements to surrounding roads.
He moved to grant the application in principle with various conditions including that listed buildings on the site be made wind and watertight before any retail use commenced.
Backing him Councillor Ian Campbell said the retail capacity existed in the town for this and other developments as a “shocking” amount of spending by local people was currently made outwith the area.
Mr Cuthbert agreed saying: “It is my view that it would assist the town.”
The review body unanimously agreed to the approval in principle of the plan.
Aldi said they were “delighted” by the decision and would give a clear indication of a timescale for the development in due course.
It is understood the Aldi could create 35 jobs with more in the second retail unit and also during the construction phase.