Brian Souter wins fight to build road and bridge near his home

Brian Souter, who is planning to build a road and bridge on his property. Picture: Contributed
Brian Souter, who is planning to build a road and bridge on his property. Picture: Contributed
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STAGECOACH tycoon Sir Brian Souter has won a battle to build a new road and bridge near his mansion after telling neighbours he is not planning a housing development at the site.

The businessman is to have a new access route built which will link to fields he owns at the back of his home in Perth.

The project will involve the demolition of a garage and construction of a timber bridge over a burn.

Concerns were initially raised by local residents who said they feared the new road could lead to houses being built at the site, known as Bellwood Fields, which would impinge on their privacy.

Six neighbours objected to the original proposals after they were submitted to Perth and Kinross Council in February.

However, Sir Brian allayed their concerns by submitting a new planning application insisting the route would only be used by tractors to carry out agricultural work on the fields.

Sir Brian, one of Scotland’s richest men, bought Bellwood House, a Georgian mansion, and its surrounding land for more than £1.3 million in 2010.

Perth and Kinross Council have now approved the building work after no objections were received to his new application.

In a statement submitted to council officials, Sir Brian’s planning agents said: “There were concerns from members of the public that the access could be used as an access road for a new housing development on the fields owned by the applicant.

“Contrary to that opinion, the applicant simply wants to create an access for maintaining the fields and ditches that he owns.

“The land which requires to be maintained now lies within the identified greenbelt around Perth.

“As such any fears that local residents may have about that particular land being developed appear unfounded as its greenbelt status and the increased environmental protection of the land means that there is no prospect of development being accepted on that land.

“The access road details, including its limited width, narrow timber bridge and associated field gates to simply allow a tractor access into the land for it then to be properly maintained are completely different in scale and character to the standards that would be required to serve a housing development which must be remembered is not what is proposed.”

Locals and council officials had also raised fears that the construction work could lead to loss of trees at the site and threaten wildlife which populates it including deer, red squirrels, bats and birds.

However, Sir Brian’s representatives said only one small tree would be removed along with some hedging which would be replaced.

Sir Brian’s home is a four-storey 1807 mansion which was the first to be built across the Tay from Perth as the city expanded in the 19th century. It is said the to be the finest private home in Perth.

The 63-year-old tycoon, who has an estimated £1 billion fortune with his sister Ann Gloag, was awarded a knighthood in 2011 for services to transport and the voluntary sector.

A spokesman for Sir Brian said: “It is not an application to build, but to put in a roadway for which Sir Brian has right of access in his title deeds. The road will give him access to three fields in order to carry out regular agricultural maintenance.”