Oct 1 2010 by Greg Christison, Perthshire Advertiser Friday
MORE houses should be built at Perth’s western edge to accommodate an ever-increasing population, council leader Ian Miller declared on Wednesday.
The Strathmore councillor also indicated that for his plan to be implemented, the green-belt boundary covering the earmarked fields adjacent to Broxden would require alteration.
Mr Miller, who was fiercely opposed by Kinross-shire councillor Michael Barnacle, also suggested that the controversial Almond Valley village proposals should be drastically downsized.
Cllr Miller addressed councillors meeting to consider a public consultation relating to the preparation of the new local development plan.
“The Main Issues Report shows the Perth West site as having the potential to provide 800 houses in the period to 2024,” he said.
“The overall site has the potential to deliver 1500 house if it can be brought forward quickly. And I think it can. The opposite is the case for the Almond Valley village proposal which has been around for as long as I have been a councillor.
“The location has been controversial and as far as I can see, the problems surrounding the delivery of the site are no nearer to being solved now than they were 15 years ago.”
According to the document, 7700 extra properties are needed across Perth and Kinross in the coming years, with 4360 earmarked for the Fair City.
However, Independent councillor Barnacle emphasised his disapproval at Cllr Miller’s comments and rejected the idea that “prime quality agricultural land” be forfeited for new housing.
He said: “The level of growth being planned for is neither desirable or sustainable from an environmental perspective and I am surprised it has not been reviewed in view of the current economic difficulties.
“I remain concerned at the potential conflict between green belt preservation and growth in the outer villages to achieve the concept of a greater Perth and city status.
“Significant development west of Perth’s outer ring road begs the question: ‘Where does it stop once outer ring roads of cities are breached?’”
Amidst the controversy, Cllr Willie Wilson was quick to remind councillors that it was a matter for the public to decide.
“I hope that people will engage in the process, this is their opportunity to find out about it,” he added.
The public consultation will run from October 8 to January 14.