Park of Keir Development nears conclusion

Park of Keir Development nears conclusion

On 24th June Stirling Council announced that they have received the signed Section 75 agreement from the applicant in relation to the Park of Keir Development.  

For background to this planning application the 2015 proposal and all associated documents are available via the Stirling Council Planning Portal, including an objection on behalf of the Community Council. The application for a tennis and golf center, sports pitches and housing on the Greenbelt between Bridge of Allan and Dunblane was refused by the Council.  The applicant appealed.  In December 2016 a reporter appointed by the Scottish Government to review the appeal recommended that the appeal be dismissed and permission refused for the development.  See the full report here.

However in 2017 Scottish Ministers decided in favour of the development and issued a Notice of Intention to approve the development subject to conditions. See this letter for details of the conditions requested and reasons for the conditions being placed.

Numerous extensions were granted to the applicant to consider and accept the conditions with a deadline of June 30th to agree to the terms.  Negotiations have taken place between Stirling Council and the applicant and it is not clear what the final conditions that have been agreed are. 

Bridge of Allan Community Council, Dunblane Community Council and Residents Against Greenbelt Erosion are calling for transparency, to be able to see the agreement and observe the forthcoming discussion.  Dunblane Community Council have written to Stirling Council and we support their comments.  We are concerned that the conditions have been watered down against the interests of the community, and that the proposed development has altered from the original application.

Our local MSPs Mark Ruskell and Alexander Stewart have spoken out about the development, asking for the proposal to be rejected (Stirling Observer 24.06.2021).  Through the support of our local Councilors we have requested that the documents be made public to allow for public scrutiny and that the planning discussion, due to be held on 3rd August, also be held in a public forum.  However due to past experience we do not hold out much hope.  Contact your local representatives to let them know your views.

Climate and Biodiversity Update

In between the odd April snow shower flower buds are bursting and the bees are buzzing; nature is waking up. Staying local means you have hopefully found new affections for exploring the many wonderful greenspaces in and around Bridge of Allan.  Maybe you have wondered what these creatures are, how they have fared during the pandemic and what the future holds for them. 

Last week we had two new bus shelters installed with Green roofs.  Although this is only small in area, it shows a willingness to add biodiversity features to urban infrastructure.  I look forward to seeing how the roofs evolve and what insect visitors arrive.  We have some lovely flowers out now, essential for early flying insects looking for nectar and pollen. Butterburr flower spikes are poking out along the path by the river in Haws Park.  Lesser celandine carpets of juicy green leaves and bright yellow flowers are all over Mid Wood and the Darn walk.  The white flowers of hedge garlic are out in many places now and those of wild garlic are about to open up, you can’t miss the garlicy smell walking along the Darn Walk. 

Green Bus Shelter

New Green Roof Bus Shelters on Henderson Street. Photo: Anna Doeser

A few members of our community have been in touch to voice their concerns about the insect population, highlighting the threats insects face such as insecticide use and loss of habitat.  There are many things as individuals and communities we can do to help insects.  You can collect information about your sightings, adding them to national records using irecord.  Last week I found a large bumblebee on my windowsill.  After a bit of searching on the Buglife and Bumblebee Conservation websites I determined it must be a Buff-tailed bumblebee, and a queen due to its large size.  And now I can’t stop spotting these huge fuzzballs hovering over the woodland floor and garden shrubs of Bridge of Allan.  Later in the year I usually have Common carder bees nesting under a mossy patch in my lawn, they are a joy to watch, tirelessly gathering food and cause me no bother. Buglife’s B-lines project aims to create and restore at least 150,000 hectares of flower-rich habitat across the UK.  Bridge of Allan is identified as a B-Line corridor.  I’m not aware of any B-line specific projects happing in this area, perhaps contacts at our local Wildlife Trust group might be able to let me know. 

In September 2020 I watched a representative of Stirling community project On the Verge present their petition: Keep the Wildflowers of Stirling Blooming to the Environment and Housing Committee.  During the first lockdown due to the pause in council teams out cutting grass verges and other areas, wildflowers had thrived as had their insect visitors.  The argument to reduce mowing was a win-win for the budget and the environment.  Following this in October Stirling Council announced that a new Pollinator strategy will be developed to help wildflowers flourish and support the lives of bees and other pollinators.  We will see some of this implemented in Bridge of Allan with mowing of the grassy area between John Murray Drive and Ferniebank Brae reduced to a single cut in late Summer/Autumn and a cut and collect method adopted if possible.  This will allow the wildflowers to bloom and set seed, removal of the cuttings overtime will reduce the fertility of the soil, tipping the balance in favor of the wildflowers over the grasses.

At a more strategic level Stirling Council has recently released its draft Climate Emergency plan for consultation on the new Engage platform.  This is a draft plan, so do let the Council know your views on it.  The consultation is open for comments until the 4th of May.  There are also two dates where the Sustainable Development team are presenting the plan, with an opportunity to ask your questions; these are 5-6pm on Wednesday 14th April and Tuesday 20th April.  The plan is structured in 5 key areas: Energy, Transport, Resource Efficiency, Nature and Biodiversity and Climate Adaptation.  It sets high level targets and objectives for each of these themes, many in line with the Scottish Government’s target of reaching net zero by 2045.  The details of exactly how all the aims and objectives of the plans will be met are still to be drawn up using individual Action Plans for each key area.  These plans will be developed over the next 5 years with the “Alive with Nature” plan the first to be released in early summer of this year.  

Schedule for the development of Action Plans to deliver the Climate and Nature Emergency Plan. Source Stirling Council.

If you have ideas for nature and biodiversity projects or want to share your local nature sightings, please do so in the comments below or via our social media channels.

Blairforkie Drive Planning Webinar Feb 2nd 7pm

Blairforkie Drive Planning Webinar Feb 2nd 7pm

We are hosting a public Zoom Webinar with D.M Hall and Allanwater Homes to address the community’s queries about the application.  The meeting will be on Tuesday 2nd February at 7pm, the meeting details are below. 

We have a panel of residents who have summarised the main questions and concerns and will deliver these to the developers.  Any follow up questions, sparked by the discussion can be typed into the Q&A/chat function and these will be collated and then passed onto the developer.  We will then publish any responses that we receive from the developer on our website and social media.

You are invited to a Zoom webinar.
When: Feb 2, 2021 07:00 PM London
Topic: Blairforkie Planning Consultation

Please click the link below to join the webinar:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86237523539?pwd=T1I0c3NPUk1HSGdmZUlzZmtQMGJpdz09
Passcode: 808131

Park of Keir

The applicant has submitted a substantial revision to the application reducing the
number of housing units proposed. The revision has been advertised, consultees
have been re-consulted, neighbours notified and all third parties have been
informed of the revised submission. There has been a substantial increase in
third party comments as a result of this publicity and these comments are still
being reviewed, as are the comments of consultees. It is anticipated that the
processing of the application will take several weeks before Officers are in a
position to put forward a recommendation.

The determination date has been extended until 14th October 2015 although given
that this is only a few weeks away, it is likely that the date will be extended
further to allow for consultees to respond, information to be assessed and for
a report to be written.

We have been reassured that objections already lodged still stand, but it may be
worth submitting a supplementary comment that the reduction of houses has not
changed your view on the application (if that is the case of course!)

Useful Links

To access the various documents that have been submitted to Planning follow the link below

Park of Keir Planning Page

You will find a link on that page where you can make your comment. Please note
though that you will need to be registered on the SC web portal and logged in
to make a comment.

Source: Current issues