Cross Tay Link Road decision delayed
A decision on whether to approve an £118 million project to deliver a third crossing over the River Tay has been put on hold as councillors figures out the logistics of deciding on major planning applications amid the current lockdown.
Due to be debated by councillors last month, the Cross Tay Link Road (CTLR) was pulled from the agenda at the last minute as Perth & Kinross Council said it wanted to fully analyse all data before making its all-important decision on planning consent.
The plan was then rescheduled for this month’s meeting of the planning and development committee.
The local authority has confirmed a meeting will go ahead in some form in the coming weeks but the CTLR project will not be on the table.
Council leader Murray Lyle told The Courier that planners are waiting for guidance from the Scottish Government on how to deal with large-scale planning applications.
“We are hoping to have an online meeting of the planning and development management committee before the end of the month,” he said.
“It’s something we want to pick up and adapt as we go on. At some point, we’re going to begin the recovery process and we want to keep the planning meetings going, so that projects don’t get held up.
“There are other issues that we are looking into, such as whether some planning applications could be timed out.”
Mr Lyle added: “We won’t be discussing the CTLR at this point in time because we are still waiting for a directive from the Scottish Government on how to manage major applications.
“In a crisis, there are powers delegated to the chief executive to manage planning, but we would all prefer to get the committee structure up and running again to handle a project like that.”
He said it was unlikely a full council committee meeting would be called soon, with some councillors hampered by poor wifi and phone reception in their homes.
Forming phase two of four of the Perth Transport Futures Project, the CTLR development will include the realignment of a section of the A9 trunk road, the provision of a new bridge across the River Tay and railway line, the creation of a new grade separated junction on the A9 and a new 6km link road connecting the A9 with the A93 and A94.
A Scottish Government spokesman said changes to planning legislation will be announced soon.
He added: “We have been exploring with Heads of Planning Scotland, Cosla and a number of stakeholders the obstacles and temporary solutions needed.
“Local authorities already have extensive powers to delegate decisions that do not need to be taken by committee. They also have the power to hold meetings virtually.”