The Cooperative Group have held in public consultation in Oldmeldrum Town Hall on revised plans for a new launch convenience store/small supermarket to be on the outskirts of Oldmeldrum where the Colpy Road crosses the bypass opposite the academy.
Local Councillor Paul Johnston said:
“Like last time, I cannot take part in the planning decision becasue I am an active supporter of the Cooperative. Councillors often have to stand aside from planning applications they have interests in the property or Organisation or connections with the applicants or objectors. For me this does not happen often, but I have to again on this application”
” If the application is to come to the area committee, my colleagues will be deciding the application”
This application is a change on the previous one, removing direct car access to Colpy road and providing a pedestrian crossing to the Academy as part of the plan. The actual building remains the same but other units on land to the south have been committed from the drawings in the previous application.
“The issue for my colleagues will be difficult and I hope they will take time to consider it carefully. There are three things that must happen for the council to say yes.”
“Firstly, it has to be demonstrated that there is no viable possibility of a supermarket of this size and volume which meets the local needs being built within the town centre. There was a suggestion last time, that it could. The Co-op indicate that there is no site that can reasonably be developed to accommodate them. Councils are obliged to look to town centers before allowing developments on the edges of settlements. It is reasonable that a developer should demonstrate this and I believe the Co-op can in this case.
“Secondly, there must be no other sites for a similar store close to the town centre or on an allocated site that is also possible before a site on the edge of the town. Previously, there was a site mentioned to the north of Meldrum Academy controlled by another developer. That other developer has indicated it is not available and the Co-op have also indicated there are no other possible sites that would be closer to the town that are viable.
“Finally, the Co-op will need to argue that the planning policy for this industrial site, which specifically excludes retail, should be put aside, because it can demonstrated that there are no other reasonable alternative sites that can be developed to meet the local demand, from the public.
“Given the level of support at the public consultation session, there is quite possibly a very strong case to be made for allowing the development to go ahead.
“My Council colleagues will need to make the difficult job of weighing these things up. To do that they need all the information. Part of this will be responses from members of the public.
Meldrum Online have published a link to the council’s planning web site to allow people to make representations when the time is right.
If you support or object or just wish to make comment, that all helps in allowing Councillors to understand and make the right decision. You should have your say.
Paul said: “On this occasion I am not part of the decision making committee, so have been free to make my views known and to inform people of the issues.”