New jobs expected with £37m investment at Superglass manufacturing facility

Ken Munro, chief executive officer of TechnoNICOL UK, Ireland and USA with cabinet secretary for the economy, jobs and fair work, Keith Brown

Ken Munro, chief executive officer of TechnoNICOL UK, Ireland and USA with cabinet secretary for the economy, jobs and fair work, Keith Brown

Glass wool insulation firm Superglass is to benefit from one of the largest investments in Scottish engineering and manufacturing in recent years, doubling its capacity and creating new jobs on the site.

The owner of TechnoNICOL (the largest manufacturer of construction materials in Russia and Eastern Europe), Sergey Kolesnikov, is to invest £36.8 million (€42.3m) in the Stirling company’s facility at Thistle Industrial Estate.

Since Mr. Kolesnikov’s acquisition of Superglass in 2016 through his Inflection Management Corporation vehicle, the business has entered into a close partnership with TechnoNICOL and is now a key regional hub for the Russian construction materials giant.

Ken Munro, chief executive officer of TechnoNICOL UK, Ireland and USA, which incorporates the Superglass business, said: “TechnoNICOL’s backing is a real vote of confidence in Scottish manufacturing, both in terms of the quality of the work we do here and the expertise of the workforce. It is a validation of our strategy within Superglass over recent years and very personally satisfying for me to see further consolidation of the initial investment at our regional headquarters.

“It is also an important milestone in the total transformation that this business has experienced over the last three years – we have delivered a £10m improvement in profitability over this period and significant double digit sales growth in the current year.

“With this investment, we will have spent close to £50m on this site since the acquisition of Superglass and this is a further statement of intent regarding the long-term future of our Stirling operations. By our estimations, it’s also one of the biggest single inward investments made in Scotland’s manufacturing sector for a long time. It’s an exciting time for the business. We’ve got significant growth ambitions and this investment will certainly help propel us towards achieving those goals.”

TechnoNICOL has 52 manufacturing facilities across Russia and Europe, but it has opted to throw its weight behind Superglass.

The investment will deliver a significant growth in new full-time jobs over the next 18 months to accommodate and fulfil the increased capacity. These jobs will be created across the breadth of the organisation, but primarily in the operations team as well as in product marketing and innovation.

This project will take Superglass beyond environmental compliance, and builds on the company recently being awarded Scotland’s first ever Sustainable Growth Agreement by SEPA, while allowing the plant to double its output from 27,000 tonnes to 60,000 tonnes annually within two years.

Substantial building work will take place on the site to accommodate production equipment, including a 187-tonne furnace and curing ovens. Cooling, cutting and milling equipment will be replaced and an automatic packing system will be installed. Building work will start early in the New Year.

Since becoming CEO of Superglass in June 2015, Munro has guided the company through the delisting process and returned it to profitability. He subsequently was appointed to a new role running all TechnoNICOL businesses in the UK, Ireland and North America.

Cabinet secretary for the economy, jobs and fair work, Keith Brown, said: “This investment, and the jobs it will create, is excellent news for Stirling and for the wider Scottish economy. It rightly shows real confidence in the highly-skilled Scottish workforce.

“It will help position the Stirling site to take advantage of greater opportunities in the future and will also help to deliver significant environmental benefits.

“I am delighted that Scottish Enterprise has been able to support this project with a grant of £477,000.

“I wish Superglass every success for the future and look forward hearing of the team’s achievements in the years to come.”

Superglass’ expansion is backed by Scottish Enterprise with the economic development agency committing £477,000 towards the project.

Jim Watson, director of innovation and enterprise services at Scottish Enterprise, added: “Superglass is an ambitious Scottish company with a strong leadership team clearly focussed on its long term success. Through our account management support we work intensively with Ken and his team offering advice and assistance to support this growth ambition.

“Recognising the importance and strength of its Stirling site, together with our contribution, Superglass has successfully secured the investment needed from its Cyprus-based parent company.  As well as bringing new jobs and investment to Scotland, this project will also help improve efficiencies in its manufacturing processes and open up new European markets and potentially future research and development activities. I look forward to continuing to work with the company and wish it every success for the future.”

Mark Bevan, CEO of SCDI, added: “It’s great to see companies like Superglass thriving in Scotland. It is an innovative employer and manufacturer, working with recycled materials to create insulation products that provide an obvious benefit to the environment and economy. We are pleased to hear of this significant vote of confidence from the company’s owners, which will also create much needed high-quality jobs in Stirling.”

New funding to explore pioneering heat solution for rural Stirling

leaflet_photos_018Stirling Council, alongside partner Scottish Water Horizons, has been awarded £100,000 to explore a pioneering heat solution for rural Stirling, with initial feasibility being carried out in Callander.

The first study of its kind in the UK, the project will investigate how waste heat extracted from the Callander Waste Water Treatment Works (WWTW) can be incorporated with thermal energy storage and distributed to remote and off-gas grid areas, combating rural energy and fuel poverty issues, such as a lack of fuel choice and higher energy costs.

Benefits will include energy demand reduction; energy savings; added resilience and security of heat supply, and possible income generation through opportunities for community ownership models.

There could also be opportunities for job creation and upskilling of local workers in low carbon and renewables. If successful, the project would be scalable and replicable across the Stirling Council area.

The joint application, known as the Callander Local Energy Opportunity (CLEO), is receiving funding from the Scottish Government’s Innovative Local Energy Systems (ILES) initiative. Supported by the European Regional Development Fund, this initiative is designed to accelerate the development and delivery of low-carbon infrastructure projects in smaller towns and settlements as well as remote, rural and off-gas grid communities.

Councillor Evelyn Tweed said: “Stirling Council has a large rural area, the majority of which show higher levels of fuel poverty than urban areas, due to lack of fuel choice as many are off gas grid.

“The higher capacity of the Waste Water Treatment Works in Callander and size of the population made the region an ideal choice for the pilot scheme.

“With council assets, including secondary and primary schools, plus a leisure centre, Callander can provide a successful concept project that would then be scalable and replicable across the area, to help alleviate fuel poverty and also to attract businesses to the area.

“This funding can help produce regeneration and economic development through reduced energy bills, as higher energy bills can be prohibitive to businesses setting up in rural areas.”

Scottish Water Horizons, a wholly owned subsidiary of the public utility Scottish Water, which is driving forward the organisation’s green agenda, is already enabling heat to be extracted from sewer networks to provide an alternative and affordable energy source.

Mari Davies, Scottish Water Horizons project manager, said “We are delighted to receive funding to enable us to look at new ways of storing and delivering heat in the Callander area.

“Within our sewer network there is massive potential for heat to be harnessed as renewable energy source. The challenge for us now is how we store this heat and get it to local homes and businesses that need it most.

“Using thermal energy storage in combination with innovative waste water heat extraction technology, we can test the concept in an area that is typical of many rural and remote areas across Scotland.  If successful, there is opportunity for wider roll-out, helping to alleviating fuel poverty, providing local employment and contributing to Scotland’s circular economy.”

Stirling Council unveils plans to build more than 700 new affordable homes

Stirling SHIP picStirling Council will work with partners to build more than 700 new affordable homes over the next five years.

Communities in Cornton, Cultenhove, Raploch and in a number of rural settlements will all benefit from the creation of more social rented houses, while affordable housing will also be provided as part of the new communities at South Stirling Gateway and Durieshill.

The plans are part of the council’s Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) which was approved yesterday by the environment & housing committee. This will include £45 million of Scottish Government funding to deliver the housing programme up to 2023.

The SHIP has been prepared in consultation with local housing associations and other delivery partners, and sets out the council’s strategic investment priorities for affordable housing over the next five years.

Housing portfolio holder, Councillor Evelyn Tweed, said: “The delivery of these projects will generate a number of benefits to the local economy, create jobs and training opportunities in the construction sector and bring in additional Council Tax revenue to help fund the delivery of essential services for the residents of Stirling.

“It’s one of this administration’s key priorities to provide more social rented housing and the programme will result in an increased supply of good-quality, energy-efficient, affordable housing which helps address identified housing needs throughout the area.

“The Scottish Government has committed to delivering at least 50,000 affordable homes in the current parliament and, working with our Housing Association partners, I want to ensure that we do everything we can to help meet that ambitious target.”

Almost a quarter of the homes will come from a partnership proposal with Robertson Group as part of the Raploch Regeneration Initiative to deliver 166 new social rented homes by 2022.

The SHIP also includes the delivery of new properties at Howlands Road, Cultenhove, and at Johnston Avenue, Cornton, with both projects being taken forward by Forth Housing Association.

The SHIP reflects one the council’s main priorities of investing in the pressured rural areas, and includes plans by Rural Stirling Housing Association to take forward projects at Balmaha Plantation and Claish Farm in Callander.

CALA lodges housing plans for Kippen site

cala homesCALA Homes (West) has submitted a planning application to Stirling Council for a proposed housing development in Kippen.

The housebuilder is proposing a development of 31 homes on the Oakwood site, which is allocated for housing in the adopted Stirling Local Development Plan 2014.

The proposed private for sale housing mix will comprise of 3-bedroom semi-detached and 4 and 5-bedroom detached homes, whilst 10 affordable homes will also feature with a range of 1 and 2-bedroom cottage flats, and 3-bedroom semi-detached homes.

The affordable housing provision will equate to 33% of the total number of homes proposed on the site and is expected to be delivered by CALA for Rural Stirling Housing Association.

This level of affordable housing provision is in accordance with Stirling Council planning policy and will deliver a number of new affordable homes in an area where the council has identified a high level of affordable housing need.

CALA said the proposed development embodies its distinctive style.

Graham McNeil, land director for CALA Homes (West), said: “In submitting our planning application to Stirling Council, we are showing our commitment to delivering a range and choice of high quality private and affordable homes in this picturesque village.

“Kippen offers a wonderful setting for our award-winning housing range, and we’re sure that our spacious and contemporary homes will appeal to buyers looking to lay down roots in a semi-rural yet convenient location, just a short distance away from both Stirling and Glasgow.

“There’s a real demand for housing in this popular area and we’re confident that our proposed development will address that need.

“We’re looking forward to progressing our plans for the site as we believe that our proposals respond well to the setting and that they will positively enhance what is already an established and very well-regarded village.”

The planning application was validated by Stirling Council on 31 October 2017 and CALA is targeting a positive planning decision before the end of 2017.

If planning permission is granted, work could start on site in Summer 2018, with the first residents taking occupation in Summer 2019.

Stirling councillors reject greenbelt housing and cemetery plans

Strathblane Campsie RoadPlans to build 70 homes and a new cemetery on greenbelt land in Strathblane have been refused by Stirling Council.

The development, which was being taken forward by Gladman Developments, was proposed for land south of Broadgate House on Campsie Road.

Councillors on the planning and regulation panel unanimously rejected the plans yesterday, agreeing with planning officers’ concerns that the development would negatively impact the area’s protected greenbelt area. They also felt it would not protect the historic environment by encroaching on the focal point of the Broadgate Mound. The proposals were also not consistent with the council’s Local Development Plan and policy.

The council received over 80 objections to the plans which included concerns about the impact the development could have on local services and infrastructure.

Planning and regulation panel chair, Alasdair MacPherson, said: “Councillors unanimously agreed that the plans proposed were simply inappropriate for the Broadgate site. Not only would this development have significantly impacted our green belt area, it would have also been detrimental to the historical site of the Broadgate Mound which must be protected. Building new properties, particularly affordable homes, is one of our top priorities but we must make sure that these developments are also right for local communities and the Stirling area.”

A public consultation, including a public event at the Strathblane Village Club took place in 2016. The proposals were presented to the panel as the application was classed as a ‘Major’ development as defined in the Town and Country Planning (Hierarchy of Development) (Scotland) Regulations 2009.

McLaren packaging invests £3m in construction of luxury packaging facility in Stirling

Blue box production factory

Blue box production factory, Stirlng

Port Glasgow-based drinks industry supplier McLaren Packaging has invested £3 million in the construction of a new facility in Stirling for subsidiary Blue Box Design, the specialist designer and manufacturer of bespoke presentation boxes for the UK food, drink and luxury sectors.

Works started earlier this month at the new 20,000 sq ft manufacturing, design and testing centre on a greenfield site at Broadleys Business Park and is scheduled for completion in April 2018.

The investment, which has received Regional Selective Assistance through Scottish Enterprise, will create an additional 18 jobs over a four-year period, comprising a combination of shop floor operators and office-based staff. The site and building have been ‘future-proofed’ to enable the subsequent extension into two additional modules; doubling, then tripling the initial floorspace.

Blue Box Design, which currently operates from 8,000 sq ft premises in Stirling, was acquired by McLaren Packaging in 2013 and has grown to employ 30 staff with annual revenues of £1.4m.

Donald McLaren, Michael McLaren and Duncan Robertson

Donald McLaren, Michael McLaren and Duncan Robertson

Blue Box Design managing director Duncan Robertson, said: “This new facility will greatly improve ‘speed to market’ for our customers by reducing the packaging development cycle time from concept to delivery, thereby delivering production efficiencies and cost savings.

“It will expand our production capacity significantly, enable us to retain highly skilled staff and create new skilled jobs in Central Scotland for young people through the creation of a design and new product development centre of excellence for the luxury packaging sector.

“We see tremendous long-term value in a facility centrally-located within Scotland, between Edinburgh and Glasgow, close to the major operations of the whisky and food industries.”

Donald McLaren, managing director, McLaren Packaging, said: “The investment in Blue Box Design’s new-build unit demonstrates the importance of our Stirling operation and our long-term commitment to the future of luxury rigid boxes within our product portfolio. Our overall aim is to increase McLaren Packaging’s turnover to £20 million by 2020 and this facility will make a strong contribution to achieving that goal.

“We foresee significant growth in demand for luxury hand-finished boxes and this expansion will allow us to offer a comprehensive portfolio of high-end presentation boxes to the market. There is significant client interest for increasingly elaborate and bespoke packaging and this venture will enable us to deliver on this opportunity. We are proud to be a wholly independent Scottish manufacturer providing high quality products to both global and local clients.”

Rhona Allison, director of company growth at Scottish Enterprise, said: “Demand for Scottish food, drink and other premium produce is on the increase as international consumers develop an appreciation of the quality and provenance of products backed by the Scottish brand. It is great to see the impact this is having on the Scottish supply chain.

“McLaren Packaging is a good example of a company benefitting from the trend towards luxury and premium Scottish produce and it is fantastic to be able to support this ambitious company as it enters its next growth phase.

“This funding will help the company expand its footprint in Stirling and provide a welcome increase in jobs. We look forward to continuing to work with the team at McLaren Packaging as it pursues its ambitious growth plans.”

The investment in the new facility follows an investment last year by McLaren Packaging of £350,000 in Blue Box Design’s current site to increase production with the installation of a semi-automatic box-wrapping machine, digital cutting machines, construction of a mezzanine floor to increase storage and an LED lighting system to ensure items can be fully inspected to preserve the highest quality standards.

The new facility will meet the most stringent of design and build requirements and incorporate a number of environmentally friendly features, including PV solar, electric car charging points and high insulation levels.

Empiric to sell Stirling student accommodation development site

Empiric Student PropertyStudent accommodation operator Empiric Student Property has exchanged contracts to sell the freehold of the Forthside Way site in Stirling for £2 million excluding costs.

The site has detailed planning permission for a 208 bed student accommodation development, which was granted on appeal in October 2016.

Empiric, which bought the 0.75-acre site in August 2015, said the disposal is expected to complete on November 27.

Paul Hadaway, chief executive of Empiric Student Property, said: “The sale of Forthside Way site follows an operational review.  Whilst we will continue to identify opportunities for the development of premium Purpose Built Student Accommodation, our current focus is on building critical mass in our target cities.

“The Forthside Way site was our only asset in Stirling. The Property has been sold with the benefit of the planning approval obtained by the Group, which has resulted in a substantial uplift in value above the original acquisition price.”

Housing plans for Bannockburn site rejected as Killearn hotel conversion approved

The Robert the Bruce monument at Bannockburn

The Robert the Bruce monument at Bannockburn

Councillors have unanimously refused planning permission in principle for a “major development” at a part of the Bannockburn battle site but have backed plans to bring one of Killearn’s oldest and most prominent buildings back into use as affordable housing.

The Bannockburn proposals sought planning permission in principle of up to 250 homes at land between the Bannock Burn, New Line Road and west of Glasgow Road.

Planning officers had recommended the proposals were rejected by Stirling Council amid concerns that the development would not respect the surrounding important landmark or view of the Bannockburn Monument. The development was also proposed for a Green Belt area.

Planning and regulation panel convenor, Alasdair MacPherson, said: “The unanimous rejection of these plans by councillors represents our recognition of the national importance of the historic Bannockburn battleground and this Green Belt area – the council fully agreed with planning officers that the proposals were completely inappropriate for such an important site in Stirling’s history and future.”

Developers Hallam Land Management had argued the new houses would not have a significant historical impact and pledged to carry out archaeological excavations to help understand the battle.

The proposal was considered at a special Council Meeting as the application was classed as a “major development” as defined in the Town and Country Planning (Hierarchy of Developments) (Scotland) Regulations 2009.

Meanwhile, members of the council’s planning and regulations panel have approved a conversion of the former ‘Black Bull Hotel’ at 2 The Square, Killearn.

The proposed residential units are to comprise six two bedroom and eight three bedroom flats. The site is located within the Killearn Conservation Area, which is part of the historic core of the village.

Councillor MacPherson added: “This development will make an attractive contribution to the conservation area as well as provide an affordable housing contribution for the local rural region.

“The plans are well designed and will bring back into use a building that was at risk of falling into future dereliction.”

Four local authorities to share multi-million pound travel infrastructure funding

Meadows to George Street – Streets for PeopleFive ambitious active travel proposals from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling and Inverness have been successful in the final judging of the Sustrans Scotland’s Community Links PLUS (CLPLUS) competition.

Run by Sustrans and funded by the Scottish Government, the competition delivers pioneering and game-changing projects which inspire public bodies in Scotland to design better places and spaces for people to live, walk and cycle in for everyday journeys.

After an intensive three-stage process all five shortlisted projects will be awarded a grant of up to 50% of the total project costs, with the grants totalling £22,540,360, from Transport Scotland funds, delivered through Sustrans Scotland.

Each project is expected to begin development within the next two months, with Inverness City Active Travel Network (Highland Council) forecast to be complete by Summer 2020; Walk, Cycle, Live (Stirling Council) and Woodside Mini-Holland (Glasgow City Council) by Summer 2021. Both Meadows to George Street and the West Edinburgh Active Travel Network (Edinburgh City Council) are forecast to be complete by Summer 2022.

The five projects set to be funded are:

Glasgow City Council:  Woodside Mini-Holland

Woodside Mini-Holland

Woodside Mini-Holland

This year’s entry from Glasgow City Council, Woodside Mini-Holland, takes inspiration from transport infrastructure in the Netherlands and proposes to deliver an exemplar cycle friendly neighbourhood in the Woodside community.

Part of the project will include a segregated cycle route along St George’s Road from Charing Cross to Possil Road and will connect to the Sauchiehall Street “Avenue” cycleway that is currently being delivered through the Sauchiehall and Garnethill Regeneration Framework.

The proposal also includes the expansion of the cycle network into the city centre, Great Western Road, Maryhill, Garscube Road and the Forth and Clyde Canal in a bid to encourage cycling as the favoured commuter option.

In addition to the health and wellbeing benefits that the extensive cycle network brings to the surrounding area, the creation of Woodside Mini-Holland will strengthen local economies and increase road safety.

Pedestrian and cycle crossing facilities at St George’s Cross Subway station will also undergo major redesign in order to improve accessibility to the station and surrounding streets.

The City of Edinburgh Council: The West Edinburgh Active Travel Network

The West Edinburgh Active Travel Network

The West Edinburgh Active Travel Network

The West Edinburgh Active Travel Network’ proposes to transform the west of Edinburgh into a high quality Dutch-inspired cycle and pedestrian friendly neighbourhood.

Included in plans is the creation of an attractive, direct and convenient cycling and walking route from the Roseburn area to the major business district of Edinburgh Park. The route will connect popular locations within a cycleable distance of 1-5km.

Destinations along the route include the Edinburgh Napier University and Heriot Watt campuses, the Gyle shopping centre and business park, new housing developments at East Craigs and Cammo, and existing communities Stenhouse, Broomhouse, Saughton, Sighthill and Wester Hailes.

This major overhaul will see one of the most car-dominated parts of Edinburgh transformed into an active travel hotspot.

The City of Edinburgh Council:  Meadows to George Street – Streets for People

Meadows to George Street – Streets for People

Meadows to George Street – Streets for People

The ‘Meadows to George Street – Streets for People’ project proposes to create a direct cycle  link between The Meadows and George Street, as well as the Old and New towns of the city centre along Hanover Street, The Mound, Bank Street, North Bank Street, George IV Bridge and Forrest Road.

The ‘Meadows to George Street’ project will provide a major redesign for walking and cycling in the city, creating safe, coherent and attractive routes through the city centre.

The Highland Council: Inverness City Active Travel Network

Inverness City Active Travel Network

Inverness City Active Travel Network

The ambitious proposal plans to strengthen the Inverness City Active Travel Network that connects all of the city’s communities with the centre, as well as developing seamless and segregated cycle-friendly routes along Millburn Road, Academy Street and the Raigmore Interchange.

The plans propose a major overhaul of Millburn Road with the removal of one lane of general traffic in place of a fully segregated cycle path. A westbound bus lane and footpath will also be introduced, transforming the area into a less congested and pedestrian friendly area. A signalised junction will also become a feature of Millburn Road with separate signals for pedestrians and cyclists.

Academy Street will also undergo a similar transformation with the implementation of a one-way cycle track with buffer zones off the main carriageway behind the parking and loading areas.

The city wide active travel network also plans to create a ramp from the Raigmore Interchange to the Golden Bridge that would see construction of a cycle and pedestrian friendly route to the Inverness Campus.

Stirling Council: Walk, Cycle, Live

Walk, Cycle, Live

Walk, Cycle, Live

The City Boulevard and Cowane Street project compromises of two key active travel routes that will allow Stirling to operate as a sustainable and vibrant city which is attractive to businesses, residents and visitors.

The focal point of the first route, City Boulevard, is to improve the environment and streetscape along the A811 from Dumbarton Road, along Albert Place and Upper Craigs.  Included in this will be the introduction of more generously sized pedestrian routes, creating a boulevard feel and connecting the city centre to the City Park.

Route two proposes to improve the environment and streetscape along Goosecroft Road, Cowane Street and onward to Stirling University. Currently the B8052 forms one of the key routes into Stirling City Centre and priorities vehicles. The project aims to make the road accessible to all users and redesign road crossings in order to improve accessibility. The integrated network would act as a direct link between Stirling City Centre and Stirling Bridge and continue onwards to the communities of Raploch, Cornton, Causewayhead and Bridge of Allan.

Minister for transport Humza Yousaf said: “I am delighted to announce this morning that all five Community Links PLUS shortlisted projects have been successful in securing funding from the Scottish Government.

“The expert panel who evaluated the bids were impressed by the local authorities’ high level of design and innovation. Each bid is entirely worthy of receiving support today and I want to thank the panel, Sustrans and each local authority who took the time to get involved in the award.

“Our ambitious Active Nation initiative is designed to encourage many more of us to make everyday and leisure journeys sustainably – on foot and by bike. To achieve this vision, we are doubling our investment in active travel, from £40 to £80m each year, demonstrating our commitment to make our towns and cities more walking and cycling friendly.

“Through the Community Links PLUS award, people will be able to enjoy new active travel routes and whether it is for commuting or leisure, more people across Scotland will be able to enjoy the benefits of greener and healthier modes of transport.”

Environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “Climate Week is an opportunity to get more people talking about and taking action on climate change, and I am pleased to be supporting the Community Links Plus active travel project, enabling more people to walk and cycle more often.

“We all have a role to play in taking action on climate change, and this is a fantastic example of how people can reduce their own carbon footprint through using greener modes of travel.”

Sustrans Scotland deputy director for built environment, Daisy Narayanan, said: “Funding all five final projects is a bold step towards a healthier, more sustainable and vibrant Scotland which designs places around the needs of people over vehicular access.

“The Community Links PLUS proposals were so impressive this year that the panel felt strongly that all the five final proposals should become a reality. We thank the Minster for Transport and the Islands for taking the unprecedented step of committing to fund each of the five finalists.

“With the backing of Transport Scotland, Sustrans will now work in partnership with all four local authorities to turn their pioneering visions into reality. These five exemplar projects will demonstrate the wide ranging benefits that well designed places bring, such as boosting footfall for local business, improving the health of local people and creating safer environments that are more pleasant to live in and move through.” 

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.

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.”