Gun range proposal near Buddhist monastery deemed ‘invalid’

The training ground has been classed as a major development and so will require a public consultation before being resubmitted.

Gun range proposal near Buddhist monastery deemed ‘invalid’ UK ParliamentFlickr

A shooting range near to the largest Buddhist temple in western Europe and which has already hosted the US Air Force special forces has had its planning application ruled “invalid” after Dumfries and Galloway Council took legal advice.

The proposed Clerkhill development is 2000 metres from Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery and has been criticised by the residents of Eskdalemuir village and the Buddhist monks.

Submitted to the council as a local development it required no public consultation and a petition, now with over 21,000 signatures, was set up urging that to be changed.

Writing to the applicant, Robert Duncan, team leader of major developments at Dumfries and Galloway Council said that following representations the council sought independent legal advice.

Although the Clerkhill range would only see development work take place within an area under two hectares, legal advice concluded that because the application was for a change of use, the entirety of the site must be considered.

Mr Duncan wrote: “On that basis, the actual application site is in excess of two hectares and would therefore fall under the ‘major’ development category in terms of the hierarchy of development regulations.”

All major developments are required to prepare a report following a public consultation before any application is submitted.

Because of this, among other requirements, have not been fulfilled, the Clerkhill rifle range application is invalid and cannot be processed. Mr Duncan said the developer can resubmit after all the necessary procedures for a major development have been completed.

Last month, the United States Air Force suspended all its training events at the range after being notified of the feeling in the local community.

The monastery holds courses and hosts meditation, including for veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Clerkhill Farm and Gardners Guns Ltd, who would operate the range, previously stated the development would bring economic benefit to the area and it would meet the highest levels of safety.

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