Next meeting: Wednesday 21st June, 8:00 p.m. in the Primary School, preceded by the AGM at 7:45 p.m.
- Adopted minutes of April meeting
A81 Road Closure: In order to carry out further investigative work on the damaged aqueduct over the A81 between Balfron Station and Ballat, the A81 will be closed for three weeks starting on Tuesday 30th June. A diversion will be in place via Croftamie using the B834 at Blane Smithy, A809 and A811 at Ballat. Repair work will commence after the summer.
Roads: The Roads Report for May is available.
Carers Week: 12th - 18th June is Carers Week, to raise awareness of issues affecting unpaid carers. We have posters from Stirling Carers Centre with more information about rural area events (including an information fair in Killearn on 12th June) and an information stand in Strathblane on 13th June.
The Planning schedule for April-May is available.
Police: The Police Report for April is available.
Stirling Council's March Community News Sheet is available.
Planning Application – Killearn Hotel
The following explains KCC's position with regard to the application for change of use of the Killearn Hotel to a flatted development. The CC can only comment on planning applications as they stand, we cannot suggest alternatives. Stirling Council must reach a decision on all planning applications within the legally prescribed timescale.
The Killearn Hotel has failed under a succession of licensees. When the last tenant left, Punch Taverns advertised the hotel for lease. Two expressions of interest led to nothing, neither party was prepared to take it on. We understand that Punch Taverns then advertised the property for sale on the open market, and, despite interest from three parties, none was prepared to buy it. They then commissioned a property consultant to advise if the hotel could be viable, and, if not, to suggest alternative uses. The consultant met with representatives from KCC and KCFC twice. His conclusion was that the hotel would not be financially viable: the Village Hall had taken the weddings market, and the Old Mill catered for the pub clientele. There was not sufficient custom in the village to support another pub. The loss of several local businesses in recent years reinforced his view. Killearn is not on the tourist trail like Drymen or Callander, and with 13 rooms the hotel was not large enough to cater for coach parties. Walkers on the West Highland Way want to push on to Drymen or Milngavie, and cycling clubs take the same view. Many country pubs and hotels are suffering because of the more severe drink driving laws, among other factors.
Alternative uses for the hotel are limited, because it is located in the Conservation Area, and housing appears to be the best option. We are told that Killearn needs more small housing units to buy, and a development of flats in the hotel building would meet this need. The proposed development at Blairessan will have only 4 three bedroom houses to purchase, although there will be 12 small units to rent from Rural Stirling Housing Association. For these reasons, KCC voted by a majority of 6 to 1 to accept the change of use from hotel to residential, and this view was supported by a majority of the members of the public who were present.
We made a number of comments on the actual plans, which can be viewed along with the rest of the application, at Stirling Council's planning portal. The important thing is that the central two storey section of the hotel would be retained, and the view from Balfron Road would not change. Replacement of the flat roofed parts of the building would improve its general appearance.
We are aware that there is opposition to the conversion of the hotel to flats, but have heard no alternative proposals, whether to continue the hotel or to use the building for some other purpose. Some objectors requested that the planning application be delayed for a year to explore a community buyout. However, Stirling Council does not have the power to do this. KCC has asked that the application be referred to the Planning Panel for decision, rather than be delegated to a single planning officer, so that fuller consideration can be given to the proposals by all interested parties. We understand that it will be June, at the earliest, before the Planning Panel can consider the application.
Meantime, the building is deteriorating and we do not wish it to become a long standing derelict site.
Stirling Council's February Community News Sheet is available.
Councillor Graham Lambie's Forth & Endrick newsletter for February is available.
- Changes to bus services: We have received information about changes to local bus services which will take effect from Monday 6th March 2017. These include a new circular route for Balfron-Killearn-Croftamie-Drymen-Balfron and changes to times on existing routes. More details and revised timetables are available.
Loch Katrine Aqueduct Repairs: We have a document of a presentation by Scottish Water about the damage caused to the aqueduct which crosses the A81 near Balfron Station. It includes details of the damage, action already taken and plans for repairs. The repairs are likely to take about 16 weeks, starting in May.
Development at Blairessan
Following the January meeting the draft response has been upgraded to an objection to the Blairessan planning application. This has now been sent to Stirling Council.
KCC has prepared a draft response to the Blairessan planning application, for discussion at the January meeting.
A privately commissioned report on road and traffic issues relating to the Blairessan development is available.
Mactaggart & Mickel have now submitted their planning application. Full planning application details are available on the Stirling Council planning portal
- Report of the Community Panel's meeting with Mactaggart and Mickel on 16th November 2016
- Document of answers given to KCC questions at Mactaggart and Mickel's public meeting in September 2016
- Mactaggart and Mickel's revised draft plan for the Blairessan development (October 2016)
- Final interim document of feedback, collated from Mactaggart and Mickel's public consultation event and KCC's April meeting (May 2015)
- Mactaggart and Mickel's display boards from public consultation event, Tuesday 29th March (very high quality, large download)
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Killearn Hospital Site Development: