Planning and Regulation Panel - Tuesday 29th August 2017








Councillor Alasdair MacPherson (in the Chair)

Councillor Maureen BENNISON
Councillor Douglas DODDS

Councillor Jim THOMSON (Substitute)

Councillor Graham LAMBIE

Councillor Jeremy McDONALD (for items
PL16 and PL17)


In Attendance


Christina Cox, Planning & Building Standards Manager, Localities & Infrastructure
David Crichton, Service Manager, Roads & Land, Localities & Infrastructure

Jay Dawson, Team Leader – Development Management, Localities & Infrastructure
Stewart Geddes, Road Saftey Engineer, Environment & Place

Natasha Graham, Team Leader, Communications, Marketing & Public Affairs
Lorna Martin, Bridges Engineer, Roads & Land Services

Neil Pirie, Senior Control Development Officer, Localities & Infrastructure
Brian Roberts, Senior Manager, Infrastructure, Localities & Infrastructure
Iain Strachan, Chief Officer – Governance, Localities & Infrastructure (Clerk)
Mary Love, Committee Officer, Localities & Infrastructure (Minutes)


Also Present


Sandra Hebenton, Town Planning Manager, Network Rail
Gary Murphy, Project Manager, Network Rail

Angus Stenhouse, Portfolio Manager, Aberdeen Standard Life Investments Ltd
Mhari McKenzie, Sponsor for Transport Scotland




Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillor Alistair Berrill, Councillor Chris Kane and Councillor Evelyn Tweed. Councillor Jim Thomson was in attendance as substitute for Councillor Evelyn Tweed.




Councillor Jeremy McDonald declared an interest in the agenda item.


Councillor Jeremy McDonald withdrew from the Meeting at this point and took no part in consideration of this item.



There were no items of urgent business.


The Chair outlined the procedure for the Hearing.





A report by the Senior Manager, Infrastructure, advised that the application had been referred to the Planning and Regulation Panel earlier in 2017 at the request of former Councillor Gerry McLaughlan in order to allow the Panel to assess the potential impacts of the application on the Stirling City area as a result of the Kerse Road closure.


At its meeting on 28 February 2017, the Panel agreed to defer consideration of the application to a Hearing to take place at a future meeting of the Panel.


A subsequent Hearing took place on 13 April 2017, and the Panel agreed to not determine the application but to continue consideration to a future meeting of the Panel or its equivalent, which would again consider the application by way of a Hearing, for the reason that the potential traffic impacts arising from the period of construction in respect of the proposed development were unknown. Also, if appropriate mitigation measures could be put in place without detriment to the functioning of the road network, residential amenity, pedestrian safety and the local economy.


At a meeting of full Council on 22 June 2017, it was agreed that the traffic management arrangements, road closures and alternative routes would be considered, outwith of the planning process, by the Environment and Housing Committee; this meeting would be held on 14 September 2017.


The Officer recommendation was for the Panel to agree the approval of the application, subject to conditions set out within the appendix of the report.


An optional site visit for Panel Members was arranged prior to this meeting, to give to Panel Members the opportunity to view the area prior to the Hearing, but would not affect the decision making procedure, if Panel Members did not attend.


The Senior Planning Officer introduced the report, which provided details of (a) the site; (b) the proposal; (c) previous history; (d) Development Plan Policy and other material considerations; (e) assessment and (f) consultations. Ten objections had been received. The Senior Planning Officer also emphasised that the Panel were to consider only whether to grant approval with regard to the re-construction of the bridge and conditions set out within the report and that consideration of the road closure and partial closures would be taken at a scheduled meeting of the Environment and Housing Committee on 14 September 2017.


The Senior Control Development Officer advised that the Emergency Services had been consulted and no objections were raised.


Further discussion took place regarding the details of the traffic assessment and Officers responded to questions from Panel Members. In response to a question regarding the short term road closure in February, the Senior Manager, Localities & Infrastructure, replied that unfortunately a number of traffic counters had not been working but added that it was important to highlight that the closure was for a short term period and in the longer term, commuters would change their habitual routes for driving, to accommodate the work being carried out. Officers from Network Rail and Roads Services were also looking at the effects on junctions and pedestrian points
and not just relying on the traffic survey.




Sandra Hebenton, Town Planning Manager, Network Rail and Gary Murphy, Project Manager, Network Rail, presented the case in support of the application and provided an overview of key routes to be electrified and the benefits of the proposed development; mitigation of potential impacts of temporary closure; revised outline programme; and vehicular and pedestrian mitigation measures.

There were significant defects within the existing structure, which would give the opportunity for 2 public funded bodies to come together and address the issues. A temporary bridge would be provided for pedestrians and cyclists and would be open 99% of the time, with the exception of times when demolition work would be carried out. Meetings had been set up with Environmental Health Officers and a noise impact assessment had been drawn up and was still to be agreed. The potential road closure would be reduced to six months with an element of one or two way traffic during this time. It was highlighted that closures over the Christmas would be avoided, with two way traffic over the structure by next Christmas. Drop-in events for local businesses
and stakeholders had been arranged. Around 60/70k letters had been circulated to members of the public, along with a 24 hour helpline with a dedicated project email address.


The Chair thanked Ms Hebinton and Mr Murphy and invited questions from Members of the Panel, to which Ms Hebinton and Mr Murphy responded. In response to questions from Councillor Bennison in relation to working hours and the defects in the existing bridge, Mr Murphy replied that whilst consideration had to be given to local residents, there may the requirement to work on a Sunday and work would be carried out on Bank Holidays. The defects of the existing bridge would be removed with new foundations and abutments being added which would give a 100 year lifespan to the
new structure.


The Chair questioned whether the current rail line could be electrified without a replacement bridge. Mhari McKenzie, Sponsor for Transport Scotland advised that the current bridge was too low to be sure it was safe for members of the public and workers, due to the complex risks involved. It was practice for an assessment process to be adhered to on all bridges to determine whether they were suitable for work to be carried out. Various levels of clearance were required on different levels during the process.



Angus Stenhouse, Portfolio Manager, Aberdeen Standard Life Investments Ltd spoke against the application, although he highlighted that in principle, Standard Life Investments supported the improvements to the rail network, however, their concerns related to the lack of consultation and the expected adverse impact on the city in the short, medium and longer term.


It was the understanding from Mr Stenhouse that the general direction of the planning system was for greater stakeholder engagement at as early a stage as possible, however, he added that this was in complete contrast to the approach that Network Rail had taken, with its strategy being to consult after making the application.


Standard Life Investments initially met with Network Rail on 23 August 2017, which they considered to be the start of a consultation process. According to Mr Stenhouse, it was evident that Network Rail and Stirling Council had been working on this matter for a year and added that Standard Life Investments would have been happy to provide material information to the Applicant, had consultation taken place earlier in the year.


It was noted by Standard Life Investments that the traffic impact assessment submitted by Network Rail date June 2017 was inadequate and that the later submission was better than the original, following the Hearing in April 2017. The more recent document had been reviewed by SWECO, the traffic consultant for Standard Life Investments and in their view, was flawed. During the February survey a number of the traffic counts did not work and the modelling did not include the peak traffic flow of a Saturday afternoon, despite the survey being carried out over a weekend.


Mr Stenhouse added that there had been no consultation with wider stakeholders in the city to review option or to discuss how the preferred route had been arrived at, which was a 9km detour. He added that any work carried out through the Christmas period would be seen as a threat to local businesses and that the effect could easily continue in the longer term, as people try to find alternative places to shop and enquired whether there would be the possibility for consultation with the Council, Network Rail and the Scottish Government regarding a compensation package.


Summing up his presentation, Mr Stenhouse asked the Members of the Panel to consider whether the applicant followed the due planning process, if there had been the necessary consultation with the city, whether the traffic impact assessment was valid and robust and whether the economic impact had been addressed.


The Chair thanked Mr Stenhouse and invited questions from Members of the Panel, to which Mr Stenhouse responded. The Chair asked Mr Stenhouse why concerns around the economic impact of the development were not submitted as part of their objection. Mr Stenhouse replied that the traffic assessment was only made available to Standard Life Investments in June 2017 and that the economic impact was about the whole city, not just the shopping centre. If the opportunity to be involved at an earlier stage had been provided, Standard Life Investments would have had the option then to assess the economic impact. Councillor Bennison noted that it should be the decision of the affected businesses to raise their concerns and that they should not rely on the Applicant and Stirling Council to do this.


Discussion then took place around the financial impact on the community. The
Planning & Building Standards Manager clarified that the economic impact was a material consideration which had parameters around, whereby consideration of the impact of individual business could not be taken but the economic impact at a wider level could be considered.




The Panel agreed to grant the approval of the application for the reasons set out in the
report and the following additional reasons:-.


  1. The objectors had not provided evidence regarding their concerns over economic impact on Stirling City Centre during the construction phase of development.


  2. This replacement bridge needed to be considered in the longer term.


  3. Consideration would be given at the Environment and Housing Committee as to how Stirling Council would continue to be involved with the project and monitor timescales agreed.


The Chair declared the Meeting closed at 11.25 am