Perth West carbon-neutral development takes step forward

A carbon-neutral development described as the largest in Scotland has taken a step forward with the full planning application being submitted.

It is claimed that the investment will generate a one-off boost of £120m. Picture: contributed.

The John Dewar Lamberkin Trust has submitted proposals for a mixed-use development as a sustainable expansion to the city of Perth, including plans for a national innovation business park and some 1,500 homes, leisure and educational provision supported by a smart energy grid.

Its key elements also comprise a mobility hub and logistics centre and an innovation highway. It is hoped that the Perth West project will help Perth become the most sustainable small city in Europe and have a “transformative” effect on Scotland’s economy.

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The economic analysis submitted with the application claims that the investment will support 1,285 construction jobs, generating a one-off boost of about £120 million. In the longer term, the 25-hectare Perth Eco Innovation Park in Perth West is forecast to contribute £65m a year to the Perthshire economy once complete and create more than 1,000 full-time equivalent skilled jobs.

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A mobility hub will host parking and car-sharing facilities, electric charging points for cars and bikes, a medical centre and a bus service, as well as connecting Perth West into the city centre network.

Key to the project is the “Perth Innovation Highway” – described as an integrated energy, data and road corridor linking the development to Perth city centre and enabling logistics firms, public transport operators, industrial and manufacturing businesses and residents to access low-carbon, smart energy and mobility infrastructure. UK government funding through the Tay Cities Deal has unlocked £5m for this.

Residential development will promote active travel and public transport. Three neighbourhood centres, connected by a pedestrian and cycle-friendly street network, will offer local facilities and bus connections.

Opportunities

Alexander Dewar, of the John Dewar Lamberkin Trust, said: “This is the culmination of eight years of planning and collaborative research to support the growth of Perth through investment in infrastructure and land that enables climate change adaptation, skilled employment opportunities and public amenities for the city and region.

“As a consequence of the Covid-19 crisis we must urgently rebuild our economy and create jobs, but in a manner that addresses the graver challenge of climate change.

“The Scottish government has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 75 per cent by 2030. We should take the initiative now and invest in the green economy, which will address both issues. Evidence from the recession of 2008 shows that green stimulus policies proved more effective to economic recovery than traditional approaches.”

A separate proposal is being prepared for a renewable energy park providing low-carbon heat and power to businesses and homes in the area. It was also noted that the plans for Perth West come as the Office for National Statistics estimates that the number of Scots claiming unemployment benefit rose by 67 per cent in April – with Tayside believed to have been one of the worst hit regions.

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