T in the Park bosses say they “look forward” to the first festival at Strathallan Estate in 2015 despite facing a major new planning hurdle.
DF Concerts are facing months of delays following the shock announcement that they will have to gain full planning permission for the switch from Balado.
Given the importance of the event to the Perth and Kinross economy, it’s likely that the process will be expedited as swiftly as possible. However, the process begins with a three-month public consultation and with less than 11 months until the festival returns, the clock has been started.
Bosses had hoped the step would not be required, with the event covered by licensing conditions, but the Scottish Government on Thursday confirmed a more exhaustive process is required.
A spokesman said: “Following consideration of the issues, and having taken advice from Scottish Natural Heritage and others, ministers have directed that an Environmental Impact Assessment is required for the T in the Park event at Strathallan.
“Ministers consider there is likely to be a significant environmental impact, primarily due to the close proximity of nesting osprey and the likelihood that the event will cause disturbance to the birds during the nesting period.
“Ministers recognise the tourism and economic importance of this event and offer to work with the organisers DF Concerts to examine the options and next steps.”
Hundreds of “Early Bird” tickets have already been sold for the first Strathallan event, which is due to take place between July 10 and 12, 2015.
In response to the Scottish Government decision, a DF Concerts spokesman said: “When we were working on the basis of operating under permitted development, there was no record of any ospreys in the vicinity of the estate.
“We will naturally need to manage the situation which we would have done under permitted development anyway.
“The fact that the Scottish Government have decided that full planning permission is required will not change how we operate the event and we are all looking forward to moving to our new home at Strathallan Castle in 2015.”
A spokesman for Perth and Kinross Council said: “The council’s stated position on the proposed T in the Park site at Strathallan Castle is that we could not determine the need for planning consent until we received detailed plans.
“The council has never waived the need for a planning application: a definitive position could not be made until more detail was received.
“We have received an indication that the Scottish ministers have concluded that there are a number of environmental issues relating to the proposed site that will need to be formally investigated by the applicant through the preparation of an Environmental Impact Assessment.”
The spokesman added: “Consequently, a full planning application will also be required that incorporates a transport assessment.
“As this will be a major application, the applicant will be required to lodge a Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) and carry out a three-month public consultation before lodging the application.”For more on this story, including local reaction, see Friday’s Courier.