According to several reports, plans to build a tennis and golf centre in Dunblane, championed by Judy Murray, have been approved by the Scottish government, which overturned Stirling Council’s earlier decision not to grant planning permission on green belt land.
The park is the perfect location to give young people the best possible opportunity to try sports... the development would be an important community asset that allows people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to enjoy for generations to come. Judy Murray
The Park of Keir development in Dunblane will include 19 luxury homes, an 18-hole golf course and a four-star, 150-bedroom hotel that will be able to host corporate events and sports coaching courses, as well as a museum honouring Sir Andy Murray and his accomplishments in winning both Wimbledon and Olympic gold twice.
The controversial plans in Sir Andy’s home town are the result of a partnership between Judy Murray, Colin Montgomerie and the King Group that will also feature a 150-acre community park, five-a-side football and a children’s adventure park.
The tennis centre will pay tribute to Sir Andy, while the golf centre will be in honour of Scottish golfer Montgomerie.
Stirling Council had earlier rejected the development following a petition signed by more than 1,500 people objecting to the plans, and local politicians voiced their disagreement.
The developers, however, appealed to the Scottish government, and the ruling has been overturned.
Judy Murray, 62, is thrilled that the project can now move forward, seeing the park as the ‘perfect location to give young people the best possible opportunity’ to try sports, according to the partnership’s website, adding that the development would be an ‘important community asset that allows people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to enjoy for generations to come’.
Approval, however, is subject to certain conditions, including a provision that the new houses can only be occupied once the tennis and golf centres are up and running to ensure the homes are only built ‘as part of a comprehensive package of development and not independently’.
A further condition limits the number of houses to 19 as the ‘absolute minimum’ required to support the development.
Mark Ruskell, a Scottish Green MSP, tweeted: “Gutted. This decision will destroy an historic landscape that has existed at Park of Keir for centuries. This development [was] always about building exclusive rural mansions [rather] than a real tennis legacy.”
Dunblane Community Council said it was ‘very disappointed to learn today that Scottish Ministers have granted planning permission to the Park of Keir development’, adding that the decision ‘ignores widespread local concerns and makes a mockery of the planning process’.
Giving the scheme the green-light, Scottish government-appointed reporter Timothy Brian said: “Scottish Ministers conclude that the Park of Keir development is of regional and national significance for Scottish sport.
“The proposed tennis and golf centre in particular would make an important contribution to the aim of increasing participation in both sports while also providing facilities for the community.
“There will also be economic benefits, both to the local area and more widely.
“Scottish Ministers also conclude that the enabling housing development is required to cross fund the tennis and golf centre to ensure that the sports facilities are accessible to the general public with an affordable pricing structure.”
A spokesman for Stirling Council said: “Stirling Council acknowledges that the Scottish ministers have approved the application.”
Scotland’s first purpose-built Tennis and Golf Centre of its kind at Stirling, has received the backing of three of the UK’s leading sporting bodies, with the LTA, The Professional Golfers Association (PGA) and Tennis Scotland all pledging their support to the development.