Rejecting a controversial link road through Perth could cost thousands of jobs and jeopardise the building of another Tay bridge, it has been claimed.
Council leader Ian Miller says the road that would go between Perth Crematorium and McDiarmid Park is essential if Perth is not to become “stuck in the past”.
The link road has been hugely controversial, attracting thousands of signatures to a petition opposing the plan, with people claiming it would be “sacrilege” to disturb ground where people have scattered the ashes of loved ones.
Currently open for public comment, councillors will consider next week whether or not to earmark a strip of woodland at the boundary of the crematorium grounds as part of the roads plan.
Mr Miller maintains the road and the improvement to the junction of the A9/A85 is the key to unlocking a development area to the west of Perth the “same size as Stonehaven”.
This could in turn create between 3,000 and 5,000 jobs, lead to the building of 6,000 homes at Bertha Park, Almond Valley, Luncarty and Scone with 55 hectares of land available for business development.
The estimated value of public benefits the new road would bring to Perth is £500 million, an opportunity too good to miss according to the leader of the council administration.
“This road is a necessity if we are to ensure that the infrastructure of Perth, as a developing city, is fit for purpose and not one stuck in the past,” said Mr Miller.
“Our transport networks are struggling to cope with current volume of traffic coming into the city if we do nothing this will continue to get worse, as will the frustrations of commuters, pedestrians and cyclists.
“This road is essential to deliver on the council’s aspirations for the area, linking to the other planned infrastructure developments such as the A9/A94 and the third Tay crossing.
“The council is doing all that it can to support Perth and its continued development; this new road is a perfect example of what we are doing to secure the future of this city and ensure that we have the room to grow to help us become one of the leading cities in Scotland.”
Mr Miller’s intervention comes ahead of a meeting on Wednesday when councillors will consider an Appropriation of Open Space Order to earmark land in north Perth as part of plans to provide roads infrastructure to improve traffic flow in and around Perth and release the potential identified in the Local Development Plan.
With the increasingly busy roads in Perth city causing congestion at peak traffic times, the Perth Transport Futures Project was developed to make travelling in and out of the city easier for commuters, traders and visitors and to enable plans for housing and investment to the northwest of the city.
Phase 1 of the Perth Transport Futures Project is currently being progressed to improve the junction of the A9/A85 and create the new link road to Bertha Park and will be the subject of a future report to the council’s development management committee.
Along with the lure of jobs and housing, Mr Miller believes the link road and improved junction would lead to more immediate improvements for Perth.
These would include reduced journey times for drivers and public transport, especially during peak times.
There would be an estimated 20% reduction in city-centre traffic, a safer route across the A9 for pedestrians and cyclists and an improvement in the air quality across the city.