PLANNING permission in principle has been unanimously granted for a £34 million leisure development outside a Scottish village.

The development at West Kinfauns, outside Perth, features a four-star hotel, holiday lodges and transport museum.

In August 2022 councillors agreed that they were “minded to grant” permission, but only after officers agreed to work with developer Morris Leslie to look again at footpaths and road safety following an emotional plea from local residents.

In a letter this week to Perth and Kinross Council (PKC), Morris Leslie confirmed it will be prepared to provide a financial contribution towards pedestrian improvements.

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PKC elected members were recommended to approve the application when they met earlier this week.

Morris Leslie submitted an application to PKC to build a hotel with up to 150 bedrooms, 52 holiday chalets, a transport museum and associated workshop, retail and support services on the Walnut Grove site on the banks of the River Tay, just off the A90 and outside Perth.

Once operational, the developers have said the site will bring over 130 full-time hospitality, retail, and leisure jobs. It is estimated to generate a gross annual expenditure of £6m per year with a further £4.3m of net spending generated within Perth and Kinross.

However residents expressed concern over an increase in traffic on a road which does not have a pavement. Since the August 2022 planning meeting, Perth and Kinross Council has worked with Morris Leslie to prepare a Section 75 legal agreement – now nearing completion – to secure developer contributions and other obligations.

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In the letter this week to PKC, Morris Leslie managing director Graham Ogilvie said: “Morris Leslie remains committed to working with the officers of [the councils] planning and transport departments to improve pedestrian connections within the village beyond the immediate frontage of our land at Caledonian House and the neighbouring Ogilvie Homes site.

“The company also confirms that if planning permission in principle is granted, it will be prepared to enter into a legal agreement with the council binding it to deliver a financial contribution towards the funding of such improvements.”

Head of planning and development David Littlejohn told councillors: “This is a voluntary contribution as part of a community benefit. It’s not a direct material consideration but clearly one that’s very welcome.”

Moving the application for approval, SNP council leader Grant Laing said: “This application was previously considered at the council meeting of August 17, 2022, where it was agreed that planning permission should be granted, subject to concluding a legal agreement focused on securing a land transfer to enable PKC to deliver a Park and Choose Transport Hub.

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“However, in the intervening period, as the legal process has been progressing, National Planning Framework 4 [NPF4] has been adopted as part of the development plan and as a result requires to be considered before a decision can be issued. This report undertakes that additional assessment of the proposals against NPF4 and continues to find that the application should again be agreed to be approved.

“The delivery of the Park and Choose, together with a transport museum, tourist accommodation and other associated facilities is considered to be an important step in creating opportunity for Perth and Kinross to make the best of its assets and opportunity for positive growth.”

Seconded by SNP deputy council leader Eric Drysdale, the application was approved and both thanked Morris Leslie for the company’s willingness to make a voluntary financial contribution.

Local Labour councillor Alasdair Bailey said: “I’m happy to support this, happy to hear that we have this undertaking and hopefully something comes to fruition soon.”