Ministers to grant permission in principle for Judy Murray tennis centre

park of Keir tennis centreThe Scottish Government has announced its intention to grant planning permission in principle for a proposed tennis and golf centre at Park of Keir in Dunblane provided there is a commitment to affordable housing at the site.

Backed by Judy Murray and former Ryder Cup golf captain Colin Montgomerie, the £37.5 million development will feature 12 tennis courts and a golf academy. It also includes the creation of a hotel, multi-user sports pitch, museum, visitor centre and 19 houses.

The planning decision was referred to Scottish ministers following an appeal in March last year by lawyers and consultants acting for Park of Keir Partnership.

Stirling Council rejected the proposal in 2015 amid fears the development could have a “significant detrimental impact” on a “sensitive landscape”. There was also a worry that the homes could “exacerbate affordability in the local area”.

Following a Scottish Government reporter’s inspection of the site, ministers have said they “are minded to grant planning permission in principle” subject to conditions, including a requirement that the residential development should not be occupied until the tennis and golf centre has been built and is available for use.

Another requirement is the satisfactory conclusion of a planning obligation, i.e. legal agreement between Stirling Council and the developer, which will:

  • commit the developer to making contributions to affordable housing and education provision in the area, in line with the council’s supplementary guidance.
  • include an agreement that no further residential development will be undertaken on the site.
  • set out arrangements to ensure that the sports facilities are accessible to the general public and with a pricing structure that ensures the facilities are affordable.
  • Kevin Stewart, the minister for local government and housing, said: “Having carefully considered all aspects of the planning report, I am minded to grant planning permission in principle for this development - subject to conditions and the conclusion of a planning obligation.

    “I have concluded that the development is of significant regional and national significance. It will bring strong benefits to Scottish sport, helping in the development of elite competitors, while also providing facilities for the community. There will also be economic benefits, both to the local area and more widely.

    “The next step is for the planning authority and developer to work together to agree to discharge the planning obligation. Once Scottish Ministers are satisfied, they will then be able to formally grant planning permission for the proposal.”

    Mark Ruskell, Scottish Green MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, said he was “bitterly disappointed” with the decision.

    Mr Ruskell said: “The proposal will not make Park of Keir a national centre for tennis or golf.

    “It’s about as far away from deprived communities who need local facilities as you can get.

    “This decision has more to do with appeasing celebrities and developers with deep pockets than securing a sporting legacy.”

    Stirling Council convenor for planning, Alasdair MacPherson added: “We note the ministers’ decision to grant approval in principle for this application and we will review the detail of the decision notice once it has been issued to us.

    “We will work closely with the applicant to find the most beneficial way to progress their project.”

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