Bottled water giant Highland Spring has scaled down controversial plans for a new Perthshire freight depot after a backlash from neighbours.
The firm sparked a row with a bid to expand its rail yard at the edge of Blackford, installing a huge crane and creating storage space for hundreds of shipping containers.
Bosses said the project would help slash the company’s carbon footprint and help the business grow.
But the proposal has come up against a wall of opposition from the village, with more than 60 people writing to council planners calling for the scheme to be scrapped.
Among the objectors is Blackford Primary School Parent Council, which believes the development could lead to an increase of HGVs, posing a road-safety hazard for the nearby school.
The school council has also raised concerns about emissions and noise, although it has stressed that it generally supports Highland Spring.
Although not commenting on the plans herself, Ochil and South Perthshire MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh penned an objection on behalf of a nearby resident, whose home overlooks the site.
“My constituent advices me that his fiance works on a shift pattern and will not be able to sleep with the noise of freight trains coming in and out of the depot,” she wrote.
Others have raised worries about the “excessive” size of the crane and impact on traffic to and from the A9.
Now Highland Spring has reviewed the proposal and agreed to drop the height of the crane from nearly 70ft to just under 60ft.
The company has also pledged to keep no more than 132 containers at the yard, stacked at no more than two high. Bosses will also limit the operation hours to daytime and evening only, as opposed to 24-hours-a-day which was originally proposed.
But agents have hinted that Highland Spring could apply for an extension of hours at a later date.
The firm’s head of supply chain Chris Hatcher said in his letter to planners that if the rail yard did not get the go-ahead, it would lead to more traffic on the roads.
He added: “We at Highland Spring have always been fully committed to working with the Blackford community and take our responsibility to be good neighbours seriously.
“It would be better if the lorries could access Blackford from the east end of the village, but as this is not possible, we need to look at the best options to limit vehicle movements through the village but still sustain and grow our business.”