Tayside and Central Scotland

Ministers back Judy Murray sports centre plan in Dunblane

Park of Keir Image copyright Park of Keir
Image caption The Park of Keir development has received support from high-profile sporting figures including Judy Murray and Colin Montgomerie

The Scottish government says it intends to grant planning permission for a tennis and golf centre in Dunblane.

The £37.5m Park of Keir development, backed by Judy Murray, includes 12 tennis courts, a golf academy, hotel and visitor centre.

Developers had appealed to the Scottish government after the plan was rejected by Stirling Council.

Ministers decided the centre was of national and regional importance, and would benefit Scottish sport.

The plan - which also features sports pitches and 19 luxury houses - was approved, subject to conditions, despite a Scottish government-appointed reporter recommending that the appeal be refused.

'Elite competitors'

The minister for local government and housing, Kevin Stewart, said: "Having carefully considered all aspects of the planning report, I am minded to grant planning permission in principle for this development - subject to conditions and the conclusion of a planning obligation.

"I have concluded that the development is of significant regional and national significance.

"It will bring strong benefits to Scottish sport, helping in the development of elite competitors, while also providing facilities for the community. There will also be economic benefits, both to the local area and more widely.

"The next step is for the planning authority and developer to work together to agree to discharge the planning obligation. Once Scottish Ministers are satisfied, they will then be able to formally grant planning permission for the proposal."

Image copyright Scottish Government
Image caption Judy Murray gave evidence to the public inquiry into the development last September

Mark Ruskell, Scottish Green MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife , said he was "bitterly disappointed" with the decision.

Mr Ruskell said: "The proposal will not make Park of Keir a national centre for tennis or golf.

"It's about as far away from deprived communities who need local facilities as you can get.

"This decision has more to do with appeasing celebrities and developers with deep pockets than securing a sporting legacy."

Murray and Mr Ruskell both gave evidence before an inquiry into the development in September last year.

Stirling Council convenor for planning, Alasdair MacPherson said: "We note the ministers' decision to grant approval in principle for this application and we will review the detail of the decision notice once it has been issued to us.

"We will work closely with the applicant to find the most beneficial way to progress their project."

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