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Shooting range plans must be resubmitted

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By Newsdesk
Front
Shooting range plans must be resubmitted

PLANS for a shooting range near Samye Ling monastery will need to be taken for community consultation after a planning appeal was ruled invalid.

Last week a reporter from the Scottish Government’s planning and environmental appeals division (DPEA) agreed with a ruling by Dumfries and Galloway Council that the shooting range should be considered a major development.

This means the developers, Eskdalemuir Forestry and George Birrell, will need to submit a fresh application to the local authority, and will be expected to hold pre-application consultations with the local community.

Retrospective permission for the already-completed development at Clarkhill Farm in Eskdalemuir, just two miles from the sacred Tibetan centre, was first sought in February last year.

It sparked widespread objections, with more than 20,000 people signing a petition calling for the application to be refused.

In April Dumfries and Galloway Council decided that the application should be escalated from a local to major development, meaning a fresh application would need to be lodged.

The developers appealed to the Scottish Government, claiming there were “compelling legal arguments” for the shooting range to be treated as a local development and approved.

However, the DPEA agreed with the local authority’s determination and ruled the appeal invalid, meaning a fresh major development application will now need to be lodged.

Scottish Government reporter Stuart West did not agree with the developer’s argument that there had been no material change of use of the land.

In a decision notice published last Friday Mr West said the plans did not show the full extent of the area covered by the development, but he said it was clear that it would exceed the two-hectare threshold needed to trigger a major development application.

Major developments require additional levels of scrutiny, including a series of pre-application consultations and reports.

Mr West stated that the absence of these stages meant the application and subsequent appeal were invalid, meaning he had no remit to rule on the appeal.

The developers will now be required to submit a fresh application if they wish to have the shooting range approved.

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