Plans by Scotland’s leading dairy firm for a 600-home development on the outskirts of Stirling have been rejected by the Scottish Government.
Graham’s the Family Dairy had submitted a joint planning application with housing developer Mactaggart & Mickel Homes for the scheme, which included a new primary school, but the proposals were rejected by Stirling Council in March 2016.
Scottish Green MSP Mark Ruskell said the decision to reject building on the land at Airthrey Kerse between Bridge of Allan and Causewayhead was “a hard-fought victory for communities”.
“It’s a shame it has taken so long for the Scottish Government to uphold a decision by Stirling Council taken over two years ago,” he said.
“Graham’s Dairy should now cut their losses, focus on their plans at Kildean for a new dairy and talk seriously with the community about how this historic greenbelt can be brought under the stewardship of a community trust.”
Graham’s had said the project would have allowed them to finance plans for a new dairy and development facility. The third-generation dairy business first submitted the planning application in 2014.
It was recommended for approval by the council’s head of planning, but it was subsequently refused.
More than 440 letters of objection were originally submitted. The plans attracted 76 expressions of support.
Robert Graham, the dairy firm’s managing director, said the plan would have generated £65.3 million gross value each year for the Scottish economy and created a total of 1,425 jobs across the country through the dairy investment.
“For a government that talks of its commitment to growing the Scottish economy, prioritising the rural food and drink sectors as well as tackling the housing shortfall in Scotland, this decision by the planning minister sends a clearly contradictory message,” he said.
John Smith, chairman of the National Farmers Union Scotland milk committee, said: “This development ticked all the right boxes and we are disappointed in the outcome.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Ministers carefully considered this application and its economic and housing benefits. However, they accepted the independent planning reporter’s view that these benefits do not outweigh the loss of a significant area of sensitive greenbelt land.”