A giant 8ft snail has been unveiled outside the headquarters of Stirling Council by a property chairman protesting delays to a major housing development in the area.
Sandy Adam, the chairman of Springfield Properties, said the snail figure represents the perceived slow speed at which the local authority is moving on Durieshill – believed to be Scotland’s largest ever detailed planning application.
Durieshill will consist of over 3,000 homes, business units, a school and play parks when it is finished.
The council instructed officials to move forward with the development back in 2019 when planning was granted.
But there has been little movement and continuous delays since it was approved. The development was tabled for discussion at a council meeting on Thursday but was pulled from the agenda at the last minute.
Mr Adam said: “There is a well-documented housing crisis in Scotland, with communities across the country crying out for new private and affordable homes. Specifically in Stirling, the need for housing was identified in the local development plan 20 years ago.
“Springfield brought the solution to Stirling Council in 2016, and councillors instructed their officials to move forward with this development in 2019 when permission was granted. Since then, significant time and effort has been put into bringing this development to life, and yet five years later we have not been able to proceed.
“Durieshill will be a fantastic addition to Stirling, and we know it has the support of the council who voted to grant planning, and of the local community who have been calling for new homes for a long time.
“It is embarrassing for Stirling Council that we are in this position, unable to move forward because of the inaction of officers who have given no reasonable justification for these delays.”
If progressed, Durieshill is expected to bring 400 jobs to the area each year, including apprenticeship opportunities. It would also support the wider economy and generate tens of millions of pounds in planning gain and council tax receipts.
The most recent delays relate to the Section 75 Agreement, which was due to be discussed at Thursday’s council meeting.
The provision, which is a standard part of the planning process, requires Springfield to make a financial contribution to the council to be used for improving local infrastructure.
Adam added: “The benefits of Durieshill go beyond the provision of housing. It will create jobs and apprentice opportunities, it will see the creation of a new school, improvement in infrastructure, and inject money into the local economy.
“Springfield has extensive experience in building large village developments and in no other council area have we witnessed anything like this. Our Dykes of Gray development of 1,500 homes took just 62 weeks for consent to be issued, our Bertha Park development of 3,000 homes took 76 weeks.
At Durieshill we are at 287 weeks and counting.
“We fully recognise the importance of getting the Section 75 right, but the council has had years to look at this, and when councillors asked for clarity on the issue, the reaction of officials is to postpone decisions, rather than using the extensive studies and reports available to answer the questions being raised.”
A Stirling Council spokesperson said: “The Durieshill development is one of largest detailed planning applications to have been approved in Scotland. As such it requires significantly more time to determine than an application for permission in principle for a similar sized development.
“A development of this size and scale also requires complex mitigations for education and transport infrastructure that involves extensive dialogue with third parties to ensure all necessary approvals are in place.
“Stirling Council has already demonstrated significant commitment to this major project, including the approval of capital funding for a new primary school in March 2023.
“The council and the developer are close to completing the Section 75 agreement process, and the council remains committed to working closely with the developer to ensure the development is effectively planned and managed, while the appropriate democratic scrutiny takes place.
“Detailed work on pre-start conditions is also underway which will allow the developer to start at the earliest opportunity once all approvals are in place.”