20-year-old Perthshire housing proposals submitted

GS Brown ConstructionDevelopers are ready to press ahead with the first phase of a 1,500-home project in Oudenarde near Perth, 20 years on from when it was first mooted.

Perthshire developer GS Brown Construction has teamed up with Taylor Wimpey to submit an initial planning application for 159 two, three and four bedroom homes on the former Bridge of Earn Hospital site.

GS Brown chairman Geoff Brown, hailed the milestone on the project and added that negotiations to create a rail halt on the Perth-Edinburgh line aimed at commuters are under way.

He told the Perthshire Advertiser: “Over the 20 years I have been working to bring this project to fruition it has seemed at times like rolling a boulder up a mountain of bureaucracy, with constant revisions of the council’s requirements for a school and other community facilities.

“But we seem to have reached our goal at last. So far, I have spent £16 million on infrastructure development and it was a relief to sign off the final paperwork with the council earlier this year. It sets the scene for a phased development of around 1500 houses over a 20-30 year period.”

Hillcrest Housing Association has already built 109 affordable houses at Oudenarde and now the first phase of private sector housing will get under way this year.

Mr Brown added: “To take advantage of the site’s strategic location and create local employment opportunities, our masterplan provides for an area of 37 acres of business land adjacent to the village and the M90.

“We also intend to take advantage of the fact that the site sits astride the Perth to Edinburgh railway line and, as soon as possible, we propose to incorporate a rail halt to allow direct links to both cities.

“We are already in discussion with the council and the rail authorities about this.

“We are hoping to link up with other development partners to achieve a wide choice of housing in terms of size and price and establish Oudenarde as a prime development location in Perthshire.”

Mr Brown first became interested in the former hospital site in 1996.

He said: “It seemed to me to be an obvious site for major housing development and I acquired it from the farmer whose family had owned it before it had been taken by the government under compulsory purchase powers.

“At the time, Perthshire was the fastest growing area in Scotland as a result of in-migration and the council planners were considering various options for meeting the demand for new housing.

“They and the council agreed that one or more ’new villages’ close to Perth were the best way of making the most efficient use of infrastructure investment – and also causing fewer objections than the alternative of adding thousands of houses to existing communities.

“Possible locations for these new villages were Moneydie, Errol Airfield, Almond Valley and Oudenarde.

“After a lot of consideration, Almond Valley and Oudenarde were chosen and the long process began of getting both of them designated as major development sites in the council’s Local Development Plan.”

The application will be considered by Perth and Kinross Council’s development management committee in due course.

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