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Posts from the ‘Events’ Category

Tipis on the Hill

Consultation in Tents

The Carman Family Foundation held a public consultation on the 23rd of September. Tipi tents had been erected on the old house site, each tipi dealing with a different aspect of the Hill’s development, such as provision for wildlife, establishing a garden, training opportunities and so on. Between 250 and 300 people came and gave their opinions.

Each tipi had a facilitator, and ideas were written on large cards put out on the ground, where later visitors could see and comment. The balance of option seemed to favour tiding and maintainance, but leaving the wildness of the hill intact, at least in part.

The trust had done very well in clearing obstacles after the gales on the previous Wednesday, when Dunblane lost several trees, including at least 4 big ones on the hill.

Image: © David Prescott.

August Consultation Event

A Packed Meeting

On the 27th of August, a public consultation meeting was held in Scottish Churches House to announce the purchase of the Hill by The Carman Family Foundation Trust, and to discuss the future. The meeting was facilitated by members of Holmehill Ltd (the registered name for Holmehill Community Buyout) but was independent of HCB, which will be leaving the way clear for the new owners.

The meeting was packed! Estimates of the attendance varied from 120 to 140 people, many of whom were standing. The meeting was recorded on video by Phil Tebbutt, who has kindly made it available through YouTube. It can be seen here.

Image: Holmehill Community Buyout.

A New Owner

A new owner for the hill

David Prescott, Chair of Holmehill Group, writes:

Holmehill Community Buyout is delighted to be able to welcome the new owner of Holmehill to the next Holmehill Group meeting in the Cathedral Halls at 7.30pm on Thursday 7th June. The new owner will introduce themselves and explain the reasons why they have bought Holmehill. This is a new and very positive phase in the Holmehill story, so I hope that a good number of members will be able come to the meeting to hear first-hand what the future offers.

Image: Holmehill Community Buyout.

What’s Happening

(To see more about an item, click its link in the list in the next column)

  • We are overjoyed that a newly established local charity has bought Holmehill, expressly for the benefit of the community.
  • We’ve been campaigning for 13 years.
  • The official report on Stirling Council’s draft Local Development Plan has been released.   It gives complete support to the preservation of the Hill as green space.
  • Our recent open Board Meeting was held on 6th June 2018 in the Cathedral Halls.   We publish the agendas and minutes of meetings here.
  • Chris Spray continues his monthly wildlife blogs.

These blog postings cover recent activities and news.   All the material is copyright Holmehill Community Buyout.   If you would like to reproduce anything in other publications, you should ask us for permission first.   For full information on our aims and history, click here to visit our website.

Spooky Fun 2017

Spooky poster

Allanwater Withdraw Purchase Notice

Allanwater back away

Allanwater Developments has withdrawn its Purchase Notice aimed at Stirling Council.   This was to have been the subject of a hearing to be held in the Cathedral Halls on 25th April: this hearing is now cancelled.

Allanwater’s solicitors say our clients are withdrawing the Section 88 Notice dated 23 August 2016.   They have taken this decision in order that they may issue notices that will focus and limit the matters and parties in dispute.

We wait to see what form this new “focus” will take.

Previously Allanwater had put forward two plans for the same spot on the top of Holmehill: one for a luxury private house and the other for an office block.   These were originally rejected last year; and in March the Council’s Local Review Body confirmed these rejections.   At the same time a “Purchase Notice” was being considered.   Allanwater served this on the Council last year.

A Purchase Notice is a little-known feature of planning law.   A land owner who has been refused planning permission can demand that the local authority buys the site from them.   If the authority refuses, Scottish Government can appoint a Reporter to investigate, usually by holding public hearings.

We at Holmehill Community Buyout are not directly involved.   However, there is one worrying aspect: one of the possible outcomes is that planning permission could be granted for the original proposal(s), overturning the Council’s repeated rejections.

More information about the Purchase Notice can be found on our website.

Image: Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997.

Community Summit

Dunblane Organisations plan meeting

Discover Dunblane, Dunblane Community Council and Dunblane Development Trust are convening a “Community Summit” to discuss the draft Community Action Plan Dunblane 2020, developed from the Town Centre Charrette.   The meeting will be on 20 February 2017 from 7.30 to 9pm in the Braeport Centre.   A large number of local organisations have been invited: David Prescott, Chair of Holmehill Community Buyout, will be representing us, but other Holmehill members may be interested in attending as well.

The organisers have been meeting regularly to turn the results of the Town Centre Charrette into a Community Action Plan which will bring improvements and new activity to Dunblane.

They say

Our previous Action Plan expired at the end of 2014 after much had been achieved.   We hope that this new Action Plan, covering 2017 to 2020, reflects the needs of Dunblane – residents, businesses and visitors – and believe that the actions are aspirational but achievable.   The Action Plan shows what we as a community want to achieve – and will help us to get other partners involved, raise funds for new projects – and get the wider community of Dunblane involved.

More details on the proposed actions will be provided at the meeting – and there will be an opportunity to comment on the actions and raise any issues.   The meeting will also be an opportunity to hear about a new project which aims to enhance the historic centre of the community around the cathedral.

Image: Wikipedia. “The Matterhorn” Zacharie Grossen –, CC BY-SA 3.0

Our Meetings

We publish the agendas and minutes of our meetings on our website: click here to see the latest documents.

Click here to see the dates of forthcoming meetings.

Tactical Retreat

Allanwater Backs Down

Last month we submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to Stirling Council in connection with Allanwater Developments’ most recent planning application. This was for a large private house on the hill, and was subsequently withdrawn by Allanwater Developments prior to the publication of a formal decision by the planning authority. It was generally understood that Allanwater withdrew because the Council advised them that it was planning to refuse the application.

The information obtained through the FOI request includes the Planning Officer’s reasons for refusal, and clearly shows the weakness of Allanwater’s case. It establishes the following crucial points: that there should be no loss of Open Space; the importance of the Conservation area; and that the site of the former house is NOT a Brownfield site and is clearly part of the open space.

We are delighted to see this critical information which confirms the status of Holmehill as Open Space; debunks the myth that because a house once stood there another house can be built; and sends a clear signal that it is not land on which building is acceptable.

Here is the text of the Planning Officer’s reasons for refusal:

The proposals are deemed to be contrary to the Local Development Plan and Supplementary Planning Guidance for a number of reasons.

The proposals are situated within a site identified by the LDP as being within the Green Corridor and an Open Space Audit site. The site is also situated within the Dunblane Conservation Area.

The proposals are deemed to be contrary to Policy 1.3 Green Network and Open Space of the LDP in that the proposals are deemed to encroach upon existing open spaces and green corridors and do not maintain or enhance functionality and connectivity (active travel routes, habitat networks, etc). The proposals will result in the net reduction of open space, including loss of connectivity and accessibility and are not deemed to enhance elements of the Green Network.

There is also a presumption against the loss of open space, under this policy, unless its loss or replacement with alternative provision is deemed acceptable. No compensation measures have been identified by the applicant. The loss of land is deemed unacceptable.

Policy 7.2, Development within and outwith Conservation Areas, is also relevant to this application. The proposals are not deemed to comply with this policy as it is deemed to have a detrimental impact on the Conservation Area, will not preserve or enhance the area in terms of character, appearance or setting.

The proposals are also deemed contrary to policy as it does not relate to the density or pattern of the existing development area in terms of the design, massing or scale. The proposals lead to the loss, not retention as stated in 7.2.(ii), of the natural features which contribute to the character of the Conservation Area and its setting.

The applicant states that the site is a brownfield site, this is acknowledged in that there was previously a building on the site. However, brownfield sites are described as land that has been previously developed and are occupied by redundant buildings, or where the site has been significantly degraded by a former activity. Within the site there is no evidence of the site being developed previously as the land is in a 100% natural state. There is no evidence on site of degradation by a former use or activity and therefore cannot be considered as brownfield.

There have been over 110 objections received regarding this application including objections from Dunblane Community Council and the Holmehill Community Buyout Group.

An application was submitted in 2012 for the development of this site. This application was refused.

Image: Architect’s Drawing of the Proposed House

Spooks Spread Terror

Spooks haunt Spooky Fun

A big gang of about 60 spooks (and some spooky parents) came to our Spooky Fun day on Sunday 25th October.

In our pictures you can see Chiara Sellars (aged 9), and Yann Kelly (aged 4).

A huge number of cups of tea were sold, and lots of cake, too. The storytelling was good fun.   Particularly frightening was the spooky walk over Holmehill, haunted by spectres and hobgoblins.   About £300 was raised for Holmehill funds.

Grateful thanks are due to Tim, Heather, Elspeth, Steve and Karen, Catriona, Alan, Theresa, Malcolm, Catriona, Lorna and Monica for all their help and donations both before and during the event.

Spooky Wizard

Photographs: Caroline Crawford