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21 January 2005
Ritual complex saved from the developers

Plans for a massive film studio development in Perthshire, Scotland, have temporarily been put on hold.
    The controversial plans would have radically altered a rich ritual landscape which features a standing stone, several enclosures, the remains of a four-poster stone circle, a Class I henge, an enclosed cremation cemetery, a round barrow, a probable palisaded homestead, several ring-ditches, pits and enclosures, and numerous crop-marks.
    Although the scheduled monuments would have been protected by a buffer zone, their vista would have been changed irreparably by the planned car parks, golf clubhouse and hotel which would have hemmed in the sites on all sides.
    The developers, Quillco 100 Ltd., have temporarily withdrawn their original plans after being advised that Perth and Kinross Council planning officials were going to advise councillors to turn down project’s go-ahead at a meeting next month. However, they intend to submit revised plans later in the year.
    A Quillco spokesperson said: “Withdrawing outline proposals at this stage will allow comments, suggestions and concerns raised during the consultation phase to be addressed. As detailed plans and reports are finalised, public consultation will continue within the Strathearn and wider area. This will include a team of liaison officers being put in place to host a number of public meetings and informal public consultation days within the local community in order to establish a more informative and inclusive finalised planning application in the near future. Those backing the vision of a film studio-led residential and leisure development at Aberuthven stress they remain 100 per cent. committed to delivering the project. All project partners look forward to working with and alongside all concerned parties over the coming weeks and months to deliver this new and exciting project for Scotland.”
    Aberuthven, the village closest to the proposed site, is made up of just 124 houses, which would have been dwarfed the development, which also included plans for 600 homes. Scottish Natural Heritage voiced concerns about the effect on the landscape, the visual impact and the threat to local wildlife including foul, otters and bats. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) objected to the initial application because of the flood risk and uncertainty regarding the proposed foul drainage arrangements. The site is a flood plain for the nearby River Earn, and two weeks ago was under 1.5m of water.
    Bill Fyfe of Aberuthven Community Threatened (ACT) said "Why should anyone be surprised by a known flood plain flooding? It would be crazy to propose building on it, as no matter what proposals the developer puts in place we should all have learned from what has happened over the past month in Asia that when mother nature decides to do something there is very little we can do to stop it."

Source: Aberuthven Community Threatened / The Courier / Perthshire Advertiser / Radio Tay (18 January 2005)

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