Q1 – If this land is currently zoned as Greenbelt how can planning permission be granted to allow it to be built on?
A – In 2005 a previous planning permission was granted at Park of Keir for a 150 Bedroomed Hotel including an 18 hole Golf Course which is a material consideration in support of the current proposals.
In considering the previous planning approval the Council considered that the development will accord with Greenbelts in that it will provide areas of recreation as well as provide a buffer that will stop the coalescence between the 2 settlements.
Whilst housing was not presently catered for in terms of the previous planning permission, it can be viewed as the necessary “enabling development” for the wider proposals. Without the housing the proposals for the sports facilities would not be viable.
Q2 – How can we be guaranteed that no further housing or other development or planning will be applied for or granted in the future?
A – It is proposed that the Park of Keir facilities will be run by a Community Interest Company (CIC). This is a special type of company which is regulated and must be run for the benefit of the Community and not its shareholders . The definition of “Community” in this case will mean the residents of Dunblane and Bridge of Allan and surrounding local area. A special feature of a CIC is that all assets within the company cannot be sold or dealt with unless it is for the benefit of the Community. It is also a requirement that its activities are transparent and reported to the wider public on an annual basis.
The land that forms the golf course and the remaining part of the site within the ownership of the applicant (i.e. the parts that are not being developed for the Hotel, Housing and Tennis & Golf centre) which is being proposed as the Country Park, will be owned by the CIC.
An Asset Lock is a fundamental feature of a CIC and is designed to ensure that the assets of the CIC are used for the benefit of the Community.
The above protection, of all this land means (unless it is in the best interest of the Community) the vast majority of this 280 acre site cannot be developed in any sense.
This we believe, provides much stronger protection than the current Greenbelt status and puts the future control over this land into the hands of the Community rather than the Planning System.
For more information of “Community Interest Companies” read the uk.gov Key Facts document.
Q3- How are the Tennis and Golf facilities different for those that we already have in the local area?
The proposed new sports facilities are different in several ways from existing facilities:-
Firstly they will provide indoor tennis and golf facilities and a full size 3G football pitch which can be used by locals all year round. Stirling University has indoor tennis but court availability for the public is very limited due to the fact that block court times are held for use by Tennis Scotland. This is generally used for “high” performers only.
Secondly. There will be no “membership” payments to be able to access the Park of Keir facilities. Everyone can use of these on a “Pay & Play” basis.
Thirdly, entrance fees for the sports facilities will always be more affordable than any other existing facilities in local area.
Furthermore the Park of Keir facilities Golf & Tennis Centre will have a work force of qualified coaches running outreach programmes within local schools and clubs to increase the opportunity and provide the right environment to enable more kids to be able to play these sports.
Park of Keir will also create a purpose built venue to host coaching courses, competitions and exhibition matches.
Q4 – Are the promoters of Park of Keir making money out of this proposal?
A – This is not a normal commercial venture. The fact is that the construction of the proposed facilities are estimated to cost approx. £12.5m of which approx. £4m net will generated from the land value created by the 19 housing plots and hotel after historic land costs. The land that makes up the remaining 85% of the site will be transferred into the Community Interest Company to be used for the benefit of the Community as a Country Park. An additional £8.5m of funding will be raised from investors and sponsors and funding from national sports bodies such as the LTA and Tennis Scotland.
For more detailed information on the financial aspects of the proposal, please read the Outline Business Case that accompanies the planning application which can be accessed on Stirling Councils Public Access Planning Portal (Ref 14/0455/PPP)
Q5 -Who benefit from the Park of Keir development?
A – Everyone will benefit from Park of Keir – The benefits of the Park of Keir development will be experienced in lots of different ways and will have wide spread Social and Economic advantages.
Firstly there will be improved access to a Country Park which will allow anybody to enjoy open and unrestricted access to the countryside for informal recreation, as well as use all of the sports facilities on a pay and play basis. This will mean that families and children from all backgrounds will have affordable access to world class Tennis and Golf facilities as well as other recreational facilities.
Local business and the local economy will benefit from the increased numbers of visitors to Park of Keir. The Facilities and on-site Hotel will increase estimated expenditure in the local area by £5million per year as well as create 150 permanent full time jobs. In will encourage more “stayover” visitors and improve local tourism.
The delivery of the new footpath cycleway from Kippenross to Lecropt church will provide a safer route for those wishing to access Park of Keir or travel between Dunblane & Bridge of Allan on foot or by bike.
The local wildlife will benefit by the improved habitat created by replacing farmland with more woodland and golf course, which will improve bio diversity.
Existing Local clubs will benefit from Park of Keir as the facilities are designed to encourage more families and children from all walks of life to engage in sport and with qualified coaching on hand they will be more likely to go on to become future members of the existing local clubs. Furthermore it is anticipated that the coaching workforce will work along with existing local clubs promote more activities and events.
Q6 -Will the proposed development harm the Woodlands and wildlife?
A – full “Environmental Impact Assessment” (EIA) has been carried out by qualified consultants (Brindley Associates Ltd).This study considered the likely impacts on wildlife, habitat, noise and archaeology, as well and traffic generation and social and economic impacts.
The EIA reported on potential impacts of a development and sets out any mitigation measures if required.
The EIA prepared for the original proposal for 100 houses was previously approved by Scottish National Heritage. (Read SNH’s and Historic Scotland’s consultation responses on the Council’s public access portal, Planning Ref 14/00455/PPP
None of the existing trees on Park of Keir will be effected by the proposed development.
A full tree survey has been carried out and all proposed development is out with a 30m stand off so that there is no root damage or impact on bat flight zones.
Furthermore there will be 36 acres of new structured tree planting designed to mitigate any visual impact. This translates to 65,000 new deciduous trees. Only 15% of the total site area of 280 acres is being proposed for built development the other 85% will remain as protected green openspace.
Q7- How can the Keir Roundabout cope with more traffic from this development?
A – Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) has been carried out by ECS Transport Planning. This considered the effects of traffic generated both during the construction of and after completion of the proposed development. The junctions within the study network including Keir Roundabout were surveyed by an independent survey company to determine the AM and PM Peak traffic flows. A model of the junctions was then created to represent current conditions and this is agreed with the Roads Authorities prior to testing the impact of the development to ensure it is fit for purpose. The development traffic which is agreed with the Roads Authorities from surveys of similar developments is then added to the peak hour traffic flows for the year of opening and the model indicates the additional delay and queues as a result. The traffic associated with the proposed development was demonstrated to have little impact on the study network throughout the peak hours. It should be noted that modelling has been undertaken with the original housing proposals of 100 units which is robust given the proposals have altered to 19 units thereby reducing traffic numbers. The TIA for the original proposal which included the sports facilities, the hotel and 100 houses was approved by Transport Scotland in terms of the A9/M9 at Keir roundabout and Stirling Council Roads Department. (Read Transport Scotland’s consultation responses on the Council’s public access portal – Planning Ref 14/00455/PPP.
Q8 – How does building 19 large houses at Park of Keir help with affordable housing in the local area?
A – In order to maximise the value generated from the housing without increasing the number of homes, it makes sense to provide houses at the higher end of the market. This does not mean however that the Park of Keir project isn’t helping with the delivery of affordable homes in the local area. There will be an obligation to make payment through the planning conditions to help fund an affordable housing project elsewhere in the local area in line with the Council’s Affordable Housing Policy.
Stirling Council’s Affordable Housing Policy requires POK to make a contribution based on and an equivalent of 19 houses X £12,700.
In the case of Park of Keir this equates to a contribution payable of £241,300 to fund Affordable Housing projects elsewhere in the local area.
A further £256,994 will be paid towards education improvements within Bridge of Allan and Dunblane.
Q9 – How come you can fund the same amount of sports facilities with just 19 houses, when you previously applied for 100 houses?
A – The fact is that 19 houses cannot deliver the same value as the previously proposed 100 houses. However the 19 houses that are now proposed are higher in value and can provide the equivalent of around 35% of what was anticipated from 100 units.
We have therefore looked at additional ways to “plug” some of the shortfall.
This has been achieved in part by 2 additional income sources.
Firstly the land value generated from the hotel site is now being used to help fund the Sports facilities.
Secondly – We have introduced a “Debenture Membership” which must be purchased by anyone purchasing one of the 19 homes on site. This is a one off payment which can only be recovered when the property is sold and the “Debenture Membership is then taken on by the new owner. The Debenture Memberships will effectively be an interest free loan to the CIC (Operating Company).
The remaining shortfall will need to be funded from equity investment from the Park of Keir Partners and Funding from Sporting Bodies and Corporate Sponsorships.