Councillors to consider two substantial housing developments near Perth

Springfield Properties Bertha Park Loch Edge
Plans for a new community at Bertha Park

Two separate developments which would provide a combined total up to 4500 homes near Perth are set to be considered by council planners on Wednesday.

Currently at the ‘in principle’ stage, both the Almond Valley and Bertha Park schemes are marked for approval, with finer points on the developments to be decided at a later date.

To be built by Springfield Properties, the larger Bertha Park scheme, located across from Inveralmond industrial estate and the A9, sets out landscaping works, community facilities and employment land as well as 3000 homes.

The proposed new community will include 25ha of land allocated for employment such as business parks, two new primary schools and secondary school, as well as shops, restaurants, medical, leisure and community facilities. The development will be built over 30 years, creating more than 2,000 new jobs as well as helping sustain hundreds more in the local area.

If approved, Phase 1 of the development will begin in 2017 with more than 1,000 new homes including private, affordable and retirement accommodation. The homes will cater for a wide range of needs with 2 bed apartments and 2, 3 and 4 bed detached and semi-detached homes.

Crucially, the Bertha Park scheme involves a significant stage of the proposed Cross Tay Link Road with a new River Almond bridge crossing. This will link up with the reworked A9/A85 Crieff Road Junction, due for construction later this year.

Development quality manager Nick Brian’s report to councillors said: “These documents both see the Bertha Park as part of Perth’s expansion to the north west. It is a strategic site and a key element in delivering the land requirement for the Perth Core Area.”

Nearby, 159 hectares of land between Ruthvenfield and Huntingtower has been earmarked for a mixed use development, comprising up to 1500 dwellings, a primary school and community facilities at Almond Valley Village on the western edge of Perth.

The development is also being recommended for approval by Mr Brian despite more than 80 objections being lodged.

According to The Courier, the project was previously refused by the local authority in December 2011.

Developers the Pilkington Trust appealed that decision and a public inquiry was held in 2012.

However the appeal was dismissed, leading to the Trust taking their fight to the Court of Session.

But that too was refused in July 2013 before being put back on the table in October that year, when the Scottish Government recommended it be incorporated into the adopted local plan.

In his report, Mr Brian states he feels the plan is needed for Perth due to the projected population expansion of the region, which is predicted to grow by up to 24 per cent up to 2037, according to figures produced by the Scottish National Records.

That would make Perth and Kinross one of the fastest growing regions in Scotland.

Mr Brian said: “As a consequence, Perth and Kinross Council are required through their annual housing land availability studies to ensure there is enough land available for population growth expected to be in and around Perth city.

“Due to topographical, landscape and infrastructure constraints it was considered that the best and most sustainable location was around west/north-west Perth due to its proximity to Perth city centre, Inveralmond Industrial Estate and the A9 trunk road.

“This has resulted in Almond Valley Village, Berth Park and Perth West being allocated in the local development plan as strategic development areas that could help deliver over 5,000 dwellings and thereby significantly meet the expected population growth.”

His report continues: “To not meet this predicted population growth could lead to a significant housing shortfall within the Perth housing market area, and result in the planning authority having to consider alternative sites in less accessible and sustainable locations.”

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