Disgruntled councillors say they have been forced to adopt a “flawed” vision for the future of Perth and Kinross.
The revised Local Development Plan (LDP) proposes thousands of new homes to cope with the region’s soaring population.
The 962-page document was the subject of an extensive consultation with communities, businesses and organisations across the area.
It was then submitted to Scottish Ministers, who appointed four reporters to scrutinise around 50 unresolved issues over a period of eight months.
They made a series of changes, before passing it back to Perth and Kinross Council for formal adoption.
Several councillors recorded their dissent over the process, claiming the way they have been told to accept the modified plan is “undemocratic”.
Kinross-shire Liberal Democrat Willie Robertson said: “We are told what to accept and that’s it. We’re told a reporter has made his decision and we mustn’t interfere.
“We are accountable for what we do but we can’t actually do anything about this and that is a nonsense.”
He said: “This is not progress, this is a government reporter telling us what to do. This is a bad step backwards. It’s a sad day.”
Independent fellow Kinross-shire councillor Michael Barnacle said he had a number of issues with the revised plan, including the removal of a 30-home development earmarked for land near Crook of Devon.
“I find it astonishing that I can’t challenge the unelected reporters’ unit regarding what could be seen as a flawed assessment, based on incomplete evidence, and the only recourse is back to PKC for blind acceptance.
“This is a clear democratic deficit in the planning system, sanctioned by government and it should be challenged at MSP level.
“I do take real issue with some of the key findings and modifications, given that all has been decided on basis of written submissions alone, unaccompanied visit and no inquiry or public hearing.”
Conservative councillor Callum Purves, also of Kinross-shire, added his dissent: “I too am very unhappy with some of the findings of the reporter’s examination and if it were within this council’s gift I would have liked to see some of these recommendations amended. But, given the advice we have received from officers, we are obliged to accept them.
“It is of great irritation to me that an unelected and unaccountable Scottish Government reporter can impose such things on a council.”
The council received 742 representations about the plan, including more than 2,000 individual comments.
One of most remarked upon parts of the masterplan is the £140 million Perth West development, with designs for thousands of new homes and acres of employment land on the edge of the city.