Tayside and Central Scotland

Judy Murray tells inquiry she backs controversial tennis and housing plan

Judy Murray Image copyright Scottish government
Image caption Judy Murray gave evidence to the public inquiry into a tennis and housing development that she is backing

Judy Murray has insisted that a new sporting and housing development in Dunblane would deliver "big" for tennis and the local community.

The mother of Wimbledon champions, Andy and Jamie Murray, had been giving evidence to an inquiry looking at the £37.5m Park of Keir scheme.

Ms Murray and golfer Colin Montgomerie are both backing the plan.

Scottish ministers will decide on its future after Stirling Council turned down approval.

More than 1,000 objections had been lodged with the local authority.

The development - on land between Dunblane and Bridge of Allan - consists of a 12-court tennis venue, golfing facilities, a hotel and spa, and 19 luxury homes on land which is currently allocated as green belt in the local plan.

The Scottish government-appointed Reporter Timothy Brian has been asked to review the decision.

He is taking evidence from a number of interested parties, including Ms Murray.

On Wednesday she told the hearing that she was keen to find a site suitable for a tennis centre in a "central location" of Scotland.

Ms Murray said: "For me being a Dunblane person, when this site was mentioned to me it ticked all of the boxes."

She added that it would "deliver tennis on a big scale and serve the local area too".

Image copyright PArk of Keir
Image caption The Park of Keir development has received support from high-profile sporting figures

Ms Murray explained that the tennis facility would not be viable without the golf academy and housing.

"Tennis doesn't stack up by itself - it has to have other things around it," she said.

Ms Murray added that she wanted the development to to be built debt free in order to keep the costs of hiring the tennis courts down.

She believed the sports facility needed to be open to "as many people as possible, regardless of means".

Ms Murray also told the public inquiry the Park of Keir development team involved her and property firm the King Group but there was no "formal" business partnership

She said a state-of-the-art tennis facility would "complement" community-based tennis clubs.

Stirling Council's planning and regulation panel rejected the planning application in December.

At the time, Mark Ruskell, a Green councillor on Stirling Council, said the decision to reject the Park of Keir application was "democratic and based on agreed national and local planning policies".

However, the developers lodged an appeal with the Scottish government in March.

The appeal document said: "We consider that the net economic and social benefits of the amended proposals are significant and considerably outweigh any perceived local concerns over the scale or type of the enabling housing element or any environmental impact of the proposed development."

It also stated that the developers believed Stirling Council "erred in its policy assessment" by focusing on the "residential element instead of considering the development as a whole".

The hearing, by the Scottish government's planning and environmental appeals division, will take evidence over the next two weeks including from those objecting to the plan.

What's in the plan?

  • Tennis And Golf Centre,
  • Museum and visitor centre
  • Indoor and outdoor tennis courts,
  • Golf course with clubhouse and practice areas
  • Hotel with leisure and conference facilities
  • Multi-user sports pitch and outdoor play area
  • Cycle trails and footpaths
  • New access roads and junction
  • New tree planting and landscaping
  • Suds pond and associated drainage works
  • Car parking and servicing enabling a housing development

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