A planning appeal to erect four glamping pods – partly refused because they were not on a bus route – has been granted.
Councillors last week argued nothing would ever get built in Perth and Kinross if that was consistently upheld as a reason for refusal.
The application was put before Perth and Kinross Council’s local review body for its consideration at a virtual meeting on December 7.
Fossoway Cabins sought permission to erect four mobile glamping pods 70 metres south east of Coup Step, Powmill.
The application was refused planning permission by PKC in August 2021 under delegated powers.
The application had been refused by planning officers due it not being on a bus route and no sustainable means of reaching the pods; the proposed site being deemed to “not meet a specific need by virtue of its quality or location in relation to existing tourism facilities”, and not being thought “to respect the character or contribute positively to the quality of the natural environment or the wider landscape character of the area.”
The appeal launched by agent Mark Williamson on behalf of Fossoway Cabins questioned how planning officers could conclude it would have a detrimental impact on the surrounding landscape without having visited the site.
He said: “The design of the pods is rural in character and small-scale which will not have an adverse impact on the visual amenity or character of the landscape at this location. This would have been apparent from a site visit to assess properly the site context and physical character.”
The agent said the lack of a bus service was “the responsibility of national and local government and failings in providing a comprehensive public system.”
Conservative councillor Ian James said: “I actually think the officers have got this one wrong.
“I don’t think these four proposed units are going to have a massive impact on that road.”
He believed the pods not being on a bus route was not an issue and said: “People don’t tend to turn up on the bus to spend a weekend glamping. They’ll find a way there and we’re trying to encourage people to walk, cycle and everything else. I would allow this application.”
Conservative councillor David Illingworth agreed with councillor James in concluding the officers “had not got it quite right this time.”
He said the proposal would benefit local businesses and if they followed the sustainable argument for it being on a bus route “nothing would ever ever ever get built in Perth and Kinross.”
Convener Lib Dem councillor Lewis Simpson said it struck him as “quite a difficult one” but having visited the site he thought “Powmill had a lot more facilities than other places.”
He added: “I think on this occasion I would disagree with the interpretation the officers have put on some of the policies rather than the officers themselves – particularly regarding the item about the buses.
“There is actually a bus route through Powmill – there just aren’t any buses due to the vagaries of Scottish transport policy.
“Cllr Illingworth makes a good point – we wouldn’t be allowing very much development in Perth and Kinross if we stuck strictly to this.”
After thoroughly reviewing the appeal the trio of councillors sitting on PKC’s local review body unanimously agreed to overturn this decision and grant planning permission.