Apr 6 2012 by Kaiya Marjoribanks, Stirling Observer Friday
NATIONAL park decision makers are to visit the proposed site of a new Callander supermarket before reaching any conclusions.
CWP Property and Investment want to develop land at Lagrannoch, Stirling Road - now Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park’s planning committee has opted to take a look at the site in May before making a decision on the company’s application.
The park’s local plan earmarks the site for around 30 new homes, including 15 affordable homes, and park planners say the application is a significant development proposal which raises complex planning issues for Callander.
They added: “Given the complexities of the housing and retail policy context and the site’s out-of-centre location, there is merit in members undertaking a site visit.
“This will be in order for them to best consider: site suitability for retail use; access and sustainable modes of transport; relationship between the site, its immediate context, and the town centre; and how this proposal fits with outcomes identified in the recent Callander Charette Report (making the most of town assets, defining Callander’s character, built heritage and Main Street regeneration, public realm improvements).”
Although the application is for planning permission in principle, the applicant has drawn up indicative plans and details.
The proposed supermarket would have a gross floor area of 2787 square metres, car parking for 200 vehicles with road access from Stirling Road.
The park planners asked members to note that “the applicant undertook pre-application consultation with the Callander community.”
They added: “The consultation included a public exhibition in July 2011 in the Kirk Hall. The applicant has provided in support of the application a pre-application consultation report which states that approximately 300 people attended the exhibition and 202 people returned comments cards.
“The report indicates that of the 194 people who responded to the question, 67 per cent (131 people) supported the proposal for a supermarket on the proposed Stirling Road site.”
Agents for landowner Drummond Estates have said there is no market interest for residential development and that the supermarket would contribute to the needs of the local community.
However, seven representations have been received raising issues, pointing out that the site could provide much needed affordable housing; that there is no justification for a supermarket of this size in Callander; that it is contrary to planning policies; the negative impact on Callander town centre and viability of existing retailers and impact on existing employment; and that customers from outwith the settlement will create traffic problems.
They also have concerns that the location of the supermarket would impact on the privacy of patients accessing the nearby medical centre and say that the sustainability of the proposal needs to be researched further and debated in the community.
Callander Community Council is said to neither support nor oppose the application.
However, it also acknowledges potential negative impact on town centre viability and on a nearby petrol station and Spar store.
Stirling Council had raised economic development concerns that the proposal may have a detrimental impact on the town centre retail trade.
Officials added that while the council recognises there appears to be a need for a larger foodstore in Callander, it believes the current policy of preferring a town centre location is correct and should be maintained.