Scottish Ministers to make ‘final call’ on £20million Stirling Asda development


Scottish Ministers are to have the “final say” on plans for a new £20million retail development for Stirling – including a new Asda superstore.

In January Ramoyle Developments Ltd were granted permission for the new £20 million retail development south of the Wickes DIY store including offices, retail, drive-thru restaurant, car showroom and car parking which they said would net 250 full-time equivalent jobs and even be as many as 500-600 including construction jobs.

The application was approved by members of Stirling Council’s planning and regulation planel by four votes to two.

However, the decision was made contrary to the recommendation of officers, which was to refuse the application.

Now, however, the Scottish Government’s planning division, the DPEA, has confirmed that Scottish Ministers have ‘called in’ the application.

The decision is said to have been taken as the proposal could have wider implications for retail policy across Scotland.

In correspondence sent to Stirling Council planners, DPEA officials said: “Scottish Ministers have decided to require the planning application to be referred to them for determination in terms of Section 46 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997.

“Ministers have given this direction as they consider the case raises issues of national significance with regard to policy on retail development and the town center first approach.

“These would benefit from further scrutiny by Ministers, particularly in view of the council’s interest in the proposed development.”

“The decision of Ministers will be final.”

The application will be examined by a DPEA reporter who will submit a report, with recommendation, to Scottish Ministers for their consideration and determination.

Local Green councilor Alasdair Tollemache said this week: “I am pleased to see the Scottish Government is reviewing this planning decision as there is a lot of concern in the community about this development.

“There is plenty of supermarket provision in Stirling and what is important is sustaining our high streets. We need to support local shops and local food initiatives in our area.

“I hope that the planning decision to allow the building of this supermarket is overturned.”



Green councilor Alasdair Tollemache has raised his opposition to the plans

A Stirling Council spokesperson said, however: “As the application has been called in by the Scottish Ministers for their determination, it would not be appropriate for the council to comment further pending the outcome of that process.”

When the application went before Stirling Council’s planning panel in January, council planners said not enough up-to-date information had been used to show there would not be a negative impact on the city centre. Seventeen objections were also lodged, including from Springkerse Retail Park II and the Thistles shopping centre.

Representatives for the applicants, however, had said up-to-date factors had been taken into account and there was no likely prospect of securing the long stipulated bulky retail goods on the site, which had been marketed unsuccessfully for more than a decade.

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A top retail expert later quit a council body seeking to boost city center fortunes after the panel voted to approve the proposal.

Professor Leigh Sparks resigned from Stirling Council’s City Center Working Group saying traders should feel “mightily let down” by the majority decision by the authority’s planning panel, adding: “The last thing the struggling Stirling city centre, especially coming out of the pandemic, needed was another car-focused development including an Asda, offices, car showroom and fast food and drive thru on a greenfield site further away from the heart of Stirling than any other previous development.”



Professor Leigh Sparks

Readers took to the Observer’s social media with mixed views on the application’s approval, however.

Many were still concerned about the impact on the city centre, but others were keen to see the site developed, particularly with a new Asda.




www.dailyrecord.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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