£100m Crieff Hydro expansion plan back on the table

Crieff Hydro EastA previously submitted £100 million plan to expand Crieff Hydro has re-emerged after the hotel decided to re-submit the proposals.

A detailed application for the ‘Crieff Hydro East’ project, which would see 200 holiday lodges, a 100-bed care home and assisted-living accommodation for a further 100 people built on a site west of Gilmerton, was lodged with Perth & Kinross Council back in 2013.

The plans also included a large farm shop and café plus new leisure facilities, including a gym and swimming pool.

The application remained in the pipeline for years after the local authority claimed “repeated requests” for relevant information was not “forthcoming.”

Now Stephen Leckie, chief executive of Crieff Hydro, is to resurface the plans after “extremely helpful” discussions with the local authority.

Mr Leckie was incensed when the council rejected the outline plan under delegated powers in July, branding the decision “disrespectful”, but insisted the plan should go ahead as it “makes economic sense.”

Developers behind the project have claimed Crieff Hydro East could boost the Scottish economy by around £50 million per year and provide 500 jobs.

“The outline application plan will be submitted to the council at the end of the month and will include the completed environmental report and a noise impact study,” he told The Courier.

“I am remaining upbeat about our chances when it comes before the council’s planning team. This move shows we are taking this application seriously.”

He added: “This is only the outline planning stage; there is the next part of the equation after this if it goes ahead. It cost a few thousand pounds to cover all the elements required by the council as part of this application pack, including the completed environmental assessment, and every penny is a prisoner to us.

“Some of our Crieff Hydro staff are paid the living wage at Crieff Hydro and a few thousand pounds is a lot to them — as it is to us — so the application is being carefully considered before we resubmit it.”

Mr Leckie previously stated the project is about “creating jobs and wealth.”

“This project will be great for Perth and Kinross, great for Strathearn and great for Scotland,” he had said.

The plan was originally submitted in February 2013 but remained in the pipeline for years after the local authority claimed “repeated requests” for relevant information was not “forthcoming.”

Perth and Kinross Council’s report on Crieff Hydro East, which was produced under delegated powers in July, stated: “This report recommends refusal of the application as there is a lack of environmental information to support it.

“The applicant was advised of the shortcomings.”

The report continued: “There is an existing oversupply of residential care home beds across Perth and Kinross and adding further supply shall exacerbate this issue.”

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