Perth and Kinross Council has approved plans for a £33.8m leisure development at West Kinfauns featuring a four-star hotel, holiday lodges and transport museum.
As councillors met to examine the plans, local authority officers agreed to look again at footpaths and road safety following an emotional plea from a local couple.
An objector – left disabled after being knocked down in the Perthshire hamlet – called on councillors to look after the needs of local residents.
Morris Leslie submitted plans for a major leisure development on the banks of the Tay just outside Perth at Walnut Grove. The in-principle application went before a meeting of full council on Wednesday, August 17.
Morris Leslie expects to generate an estimated gross annual expenditure of £6m per year at the development with a further £4.3m of net spending generated within Perth and Kinross.
Objectors Mr and Dr Windsor – who live at nearby Kinfauns Holdings – raised concerns about road safety and traffic accessing the site from the east.
Mr Windsor told councillors his wife – who attended Wednesday’s meeting using a mobility device – was left disabled whilst walking on the road near her home with her dog.
He said: “The reason she’s using this device is because she was knocked down twice whilst walking her dog along the road through the Holdings and as a result left disabled.”
Once open, the developers anticipate 80,000 visitors which the objectors feared would result in a lot of added traffic on a road without a physical pavement.
Mr Windsor said: “27 years we’ve been trying to get a pavement down there.
“That’s just not good enough.”
Mr Windsor told councillors of the current “virtual pavement” – a white line along the side of the road that “no one knows what it is” and “full of potholes”.
He said: “My wife was taken into hospital because she fell into one of the potholes.”
An emotional Dr Windsor told councillors: “It seems that you councillors are appointed to look after the interests of the people who voted for you but where all you can do is look after the interests of businessmen who seek to make profits from fields in and around Perth.”
The proposal is for a 150-bedroomed hotel, 52 holiday chalets, a transport museum and associated workshop, retail and support services.
Once operational the site will bring over 130 full-time hospitality, retail, and leisure jobs.
Part of the site has been identified as the location of Perth and Kinross Council’s (PKC) proposed Park and Choose transport hub which Morris Leslie Ltd has agreed to set aside for this use subject to a Section 75 agreement.
A Morris Leslie group representative said: “This application is of significant personal importance to Morris as he is keen to play a part to support and promote an increased level of tourism in Perth and Kinross by developing a museum which will showcase the history of Scottish transport and play its part in retaining visitors in the city for longer benefiting local businesses by delivering increased levels of local spend.”
PKC’s planning service manager Kristian Smith said asking the applicant to extend the pavement to the far eastern end of the hamlet – outside the site – would “in officers’ view not be a reasonable imposition”.
He added: “However the executive director of communities has advised the council as roads authority will investigate and I also understand the applicant is willing to work with the council on that.”
PKC’s executive director of communities Barbara Renton said: “We are very clear the council takes its responsibilities for road safety incredibly seriously. We have an agreed process on how we access safety conditions on footways and roads.”
She added: “We will look again at the road and the footpath to make sure that any of the development will not have an impact on increasing the difficulties for pedestrians on that.”
Moving the application SNP council leader Grant Laing said: “Like any planning application everything comes down to balance.
“After hearing the assurances from Mrs Renton that we will work with the developer and look again at the paths and safety for the residents of West Kinfauns and Kinfauns Holding, I am minded to support this application.”
He said the development “sends a message to business we are open for business and we are looking to grow Perth City Centre and Perth City through the economy and inward investment”.
Seconding depute provost Andrew Parrott said the development would “draw people to Perth and Kinross” and provide considerable, additional employment opportunities” and praised the development of the “vital” Park and Choose site.
Following the meeting chairman Morris Leslie said his company was “thrilled” the application – “drawing tourists to the marvellous attractions in the area and creating much-needed jobs” – had been approved.
He added: “Morris Leslie is committed to delivering a development that brings significant investment to Perthshire, and the West Kinfauns development provides an ideal opportunity to maximise a perfect location, attracting tourists to the area.”
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