A campaign group has raised concerns about the environmental and societal impact of £15m development plans for Murrayshall Country House Hotel and Golf Club in Scone, Perthshire.
The four-AA-starred, 40-bedroom property has lodged a planning application with Perth & Kinross Council detailing plans for a new spa and leisure facility, outdoor pursuits area, golf academy, indoor games room, premium glamping units and lodges, as well as upgraded staff accommodation. The developments would also double the hotel's existing room capacity to 80 rooms, suites and lodges.
The group Save Murrayshall Greenbelt claims the proposed development work will encroach on a protected green belt area. It also raised concerns regarding the increased strain on local amenities by the housing development and the pressure on local road infrastructure during the site development works, as well as the expected increase in visitors to the hotel facilities.
A spokesperson from Save Murrayshall Greenbelt said the group was not opposed to improving the hotel or its ambition to make it a destination resort, but that improvements "have to be sympathetic, taking into account the need to protect the natural environment along with the interests and wellbeing of existing residents so everyone can continue to enjoy this area".
A statement from Murrayshall said: "We are happy this group welcomes such a major investment and is not opposed to Murrayshall becoming an important destination, with all the benefits that will bring for the local economy, including the creation of more than 250 full-time equivalent jobs.
"The Murrayshall Estate has been caring for the local environment for 400 years and we share our neighbours' determination to ensure it remains an area of outstanding beauty. Indeed, it is in our commercial interest to do so because its natural amenities and splendid views are among our prime attractions.
"Our application complies with relevant policies of the local development plan. Murrayshall needs to expand and diversify in order to meet our goal of providing the top-class facilities increasingly being demanded by visitors to Perth and Perthshire as well as the local population. This will also allow us to extend the season for tourists who also spend money in many other local establishments.
"As with all our facilities, the residential housing will fit into low-density design set within the estate while further enhancing the walks trail, protecting wildlife and providing safe access for visitors to enjoy this wonderful part of Scotland."
The closing date for objections to the planning application is Friday 28 May.
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