Developers submitted a speculative proposal to build 250 houses on land that that wasn’t zoned for housing. Among the 13 reasons for refusal given by councillors was that the development would not respect the battlefield, particularly the views and interpretation from the nearby rotunda and Robert the Bruce memorial. Developers appealed the decision and this week SNP Ministers decided to hear their appeal personally, rather than leave it to civil servants. It raises the possibility that, bizarrely, the SNP Government might overrule Stirling Councillors and allow expensive houses to be built on a site SNP supporters, and much of Scotland, considers hallowed ground.
Bannockburn Councillor Margaret Brisley said,
“This is the most bizzare interference from the SNP Government in local planning issues yet. Councillors of all parties turned down this application because of the visual impact it would have on the battlefield. The developer, as is their right, have appealed that decision to the SNP Government reporter but most people expected this to be a formality. By calling this in, SNP Ministers either don’t care about the Battle of Bannockburn, or they don’t trust their own civil servants to do their job. Either way, this is another sign of a controlling, centralising SNP Government that doesn’t care about local democracy and the rights of local people to make the decisions that are right for their communities.”
SNP Ministers have a track record of overruling their own councillors and trampling on local democracy when it comes to planning decisions. Last year SNP Ministers granted planning permission for a development at Park of Keir, despite overwhelming protest from residents, Stirling Council and even the SNP Government’s own planning appeals Reporter. Residents in Bridge of Allan and Causewayhead are still waiting to hear if Ministers will ignore the public and Local Authority decisions and grant housing at Airthrey Kerse.
Speaking after the rejection last year, SNP Councillor 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.”
This story relates to our 2017 Stirling Council Manifesto Commitment:
- We will put pressure on the Scottish Government to overhaul the planning system to put more power in the hands of our local communities, not the hands of developers or distant government bureaucrats