CONTROVERSIAL plans to stage the T in the Park music festival at Strathallan Castle should be approved, council officials recommended yesterday.
Perth and Kinross councillors will now decide on 12 May whether the event in July and over the next two years should go ahead.
We’re confident the committee will recognise we can meet any conditions and ensure all measures are in placeDF Concerts spokeswoman
The three-day festival is due to feature bands such as Kasabian, The Libertines and Twin Atlantic, but has faced protests over potential disruption and environmental damage.
The council said it had reviewed the responses to two public consultations and decided “the development complies with the relevant provisions of the development plan”.
It added: “There are no material considerations apparent which outweigh the development plan.”
DF Concerts, which hopes to stage T in the Park on the 1,000-acre estate near Auchterarder, described the move as “excellent news”.
Its spokeswoman said: “We’re confident the committee will recognise we can meet any conditions and ensure all measures are in place to secure the long-term protection of the estate, as well as a positive future for T in the Park at Strathallan Castle.”
The festival, which has been staged for 20 years, is due to move from its previous site at Balado, near Kinross, because of the proximity of an underground oil pipeline.
It was initially thought the event, with an 85,000-capacity, could operate in the grounds of the 19th-century castle with a permitted development and a public entertainment licence.
However, the discovery of osprey at Strathallan meant a formal planning application and an environmental statement was required.
An osprey nest close to the proposed site sparked a dispute between the festival’s organisers and opponents, but the council said mitigation measures for wildlife and forestry are “considered to be appropriate”.
DF Concerts’ experience of running large-scale events in other “sensitive environments” was also highlighted.
The report also considered “traffic and transport implications, ecology and ornithology, landscape and visual impact, cultural heritage and other issues”.
A summary of the decision read: “This report recommends approval of the application for a temporary period to allow for a single event (music festival) to take place in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
“This period is considered appropriate as it will allow for monitoring and review of all aspects of the event to be undertaken to inform future assessment of the event at Strathallan.”
Last week, DF Concerts said it was confident the event would go ahead and stressed it had gone “above and beyond with meticulous detail” in its planning.
The firm warned the festival, which is said to be worth some £15 million to the economy, may never be held again if it did not go ahead this year.
However there have been fears from businesses, such as the five-star Gleneagles resort, which raised concerns about possible levels of disruption.
The Woodland Trust, one of the most outspoken critics of Strathallan plans, has gathered a 3,000-name petition against staging the event at such an “inappropriate” venue.
But backing has come from VisitScotland, whose chairman, Mike Cantlay, said: “It is an institution that must continue in Scotland.”