May 11 2012 by Kaiya Marjoribanks, Stirling Observer Friday
PLANS for a major supermarket in Callander have secured backing from national park planners.
The Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority has been considering a planning application from CWP Property and Investment, for a food supermarket with car parking at Lagrannoch, Stirling Road in Callander.
Director of planning Gordon Watson has now recommended approval, subject to a legal agreement which will secure £450,000 of developer funding towards town centre and affordable housing in Callander.
A special meeting of the planning committee will be held on Monday May 21 at the Bridgend Youth Hub in Callander at 1pm, to consider the application and recommendation.
In his report Mr Watson states: “At the Callander Charrette the community identified that Callander should aspire to be a ‘retail hub’ for local people, the surrounding area and tourists, and offer choice.
“Retail expenditure from the local area spent in other centres, such as Stirling, is estimated to be approximately £20m and the proposed supermarket is expected to bring £11.82m back to Callander.
“Residents will also be less likely to travel longer distances for their weekly shop. The applicant has indicated up to 150 full time jobs will be created.
“Although contrary to the National Park Local Plan allocation for housing, the wider benefits of the proposal have been considered.
“We have negotiated financial contributions from the developer of £200,000 towards developing alternative affordable housing in Callander and a further £250,000 towards town centre improvements identified through the charrette process, such as regenerating Ancaster Square.
“This presents an opportunity to provide variety and choice to convenience shopping in Callander, contribute significantly to Callander’s town centre regeneration, provide new job opportunities, help deliver new affordable housing opportunities, and contribute to sustainable development.
“By contributing to realising the charrette’s short term priorities, the proposal will aid economic growth and facilitate inward investment into Callander in a time of financial uncertainty.”
While this is a planning permission in principle application, the applicant has included details of the proposed development.
They include: car parking for around 200 vehicles; landscaping along Stirling Road and the eastern boundary (between the car park and residential housing at Finglas Gardens); and the proposed supermarket has a gross floor area of 2787 sq m (60 per cent of the total floor area is assumed to be trading floor space).
The site is currently vacant, grassed land located in a mainly residential area near Callander Medical Centre, Callander Fire Station, the Dreadnought Garage and petrol filling station, and some B&Bs.
Nine representations have been received raising issues, pointing out the site could provide much needed affordable housing; there is no justification for a supermarket of this size in Callander; 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.
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 the nearby petrol station and Spar store.
The Retail Impact Assessment estimates potentially 28 per cent turnover loss for Callander convenience retailers (including Tesco and Co-op); 21 per cent turnover loss for Aberfoyle convenience retailers (including Co-op); and 21 per cent turnover loss for Killin Co-op.
However, Mr Watson’s report states: “These estimates of convenience impact are significant. However, the RIA identifies there is likely an element of over-trading in the catchment area given limited convenience shopping opportunities in these centres and time and cost of accessing stores elsewhere.
“Taking into account the impact of the proposal, it is anticipated existing convenience stores in the catchment area will continue to trade significantly above national average figures. The RIA also does not factor in tourist expenditure and in consideration of this, the impact levels in the RIA will be less than predicted.”