Plans have been approved for a 50-bed care home in Callander on a site earmarked for a supermarket.
A planning application lodged by Perth-based Balhousie Care Ltd has now been backed by Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park’s planning and access committee.
The company estimates the care home will generate 75 full and part-time jobs.
Balhousie, which runs 25 care homes across the country for people varying in age and health conditions – including adults with disabilities, frail elderly people, those with Alzheimer’s and dementia, people with Huntington’s disease, as well as palliative and respite care – wants to build the new home at Lagrannoch off Stirling Road.
Planning permission was previously granted for a supermarket on the site and prior to that permission in principle for a residential development.
In submissions to the planners, the developers said the proportion of over 75s in the population was projected to continue to rise over the next two decades and that the Callander catchment area – including Aberfoyle, Aberfoyle, Kippen, Doune, Crianlarich, Tyndrum and Lochearnhead – required around 70-80 care home bed spaces, but existing provision comprised of one care home with 20 beds.
They said the proposed care home would be a purpose-built facility, split into five ‘compartments’, each comprising ten ensuite bedrooms and a communal living/dining room.
Park planners said: “The development would provide a 50-bed care home including new road access, car parking and landscaping within the Callander settlement.
“This application would, if approved, be a material departure from the Local Development Plan as the site is currently identified for retail use. The LDP is up to date and carries full weight in the determination process. It must therefore be determined whether there are material considerations sufficient to outweigh the conflict with this aspect of the LDP.
“The site has had a retail permission for over seven years and despite being actively marketed has remained undeveloped – there is therefore no market demand for a retail site of this scale and location.
“Supporting information in the form of a retail impact assessment has demonstrated that the retail use of the site – depending on the type of potential offer – is no longer viable or could have an adverse impact on the vitality and viability of Callander town centre.
“The examination report for the current LDP highlighted that the retail allocation on the site could be reviewed should the permission lapse and site remain undeveloped.
“The previous retail permission for the site included the provision of a financial contribution to offset potential negative impacts on the vitality and viability of Callander town center as a result of retail development.
“The planning statement submitted in support of the application demonstrates a shortfall in care home bed spaces in the Callander area and population projections towards an aging population demographic.
“The proposal has received directly expressed support from the Clackmannanshire and Stirling Health and Social Care Partnership.
“Given the history of the non-delivery of a retail use for this site; concerns regarding the potential impact on the vitality and viability of the town center should the retail site be delivered; and acceptance in the LDP examination report that the land allocation could be reviewed should the site remain undeveloped, it would be unreasonable to maintain the view that a supermarket could be delivered on the site.”