A Kinross community group has hit out at council officials looking to approve new plans by developers who demolished a building in the town’s conservation area without permission.
Kinross-shire Civic Trust claims that such approval would “encourage others to act in a similarly reprehensible manner in future”.
In June this year, Kirklands Development Group bulldozed a former manse at the Kirkland’s Garage site on Kinross High Street without planning permission, leading the council to suspend the project before halting it indefinitely.
The developers had originally been given planning permission in 2018 for the part-demolition of the site, and the erection of two houses and four flats.
However, due to the full demolition, developers were forced to reapply for permission for the complete demolition of buildings, erection of two houses and four flats and to rebuild the manse facade.
The new application has now been recommended for approval by council planning officers and will go before councillors for a decision on Tuesday.
Kinross-shire Civic Trust want a full investigation into the demolition to be carried out and for the application for to be deferred until new drawings for the manse are submitted.
Eileen Thomas, secretary for Kinross-shire Civic Trust, said: “We are disappointed to see that council planning officers are recommending approval of (the) applications at (the) planning and development management committee without, as far as we can tell, any such investigation having taken place.
“Such a course of action would appear to reward developers for breaking planning laws and may encourage others to act in a similarly reprehensible manner in future.”
Martin Smith, of Kirklands Development Company, has said his company had “no choice” but to tear down the building as it had become “unsafe” after they removed fuel tanks at the behest of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
However the HSE and Building Standards have both dismissed claims they called for the demolition of the building – or the removal of the fuel tanks.
Ms Thomas said: ” FoI documents show that the developers informed the HSE on May 31 that they intended to demolish the building on June 3 – although in fact they carried out the demolition on June 4 – so the demolition was not an unfortunate progression of the permitted demolition, but a premeditated act.
“The fact that this was carried out by a JCB telescopic machine with bucket rather than by hand confirms this.”