– Proposed Plan Representation From the CWG – (Cultybraggan Camp Working Group)
1. Designation of Cultybraggan Camp as a Mixed Use Area (Policy ED1B)
2. Designation of the site of the former ammunition store for up to 5 low carbon houses (Policy RD3)
The Trust welcomes the recognition given in the Plan to the “significant potential” of Cultybraggan Camp for development. “Planning permission has been granted for a variety of uses including employment land. This will provide important opportunities for sustainable economic growth in a rural location.” Given the variety of uses permitted and proposed, the Trust considers that it would be more appropriate to designate the camp as a Mixed Use Area (Policy ED1B).
The camp is now home to 14 businesses with 44 full-time equivalent jobs.Investment by the Trust in renewable energy (solar photo-voltaics and biomass district heating) will allow many of these businesses to develop in an environmentally sustainable way.
There remains considerable scope to attract additional employment and investment to the benefit of the local economy, including the re-use of the former nuclear bunker as a data centre, bringing with it the prospect of high speed broadband, both to the camp and to Comrie. This investment, in turn, is expected to attract additional businesses to the camp that depend on this high level of connectivity.
The Trust welcomes the Plan`s aim “to create a positive and flexible framework to encourage new wealth creation opportunities”. This flexible approach is important for the continued success of the camp. Businesses have been attracted to the site, in some cases from mainly residential areas, because of the expectation that they can operate longer hours without detriment to the amenity of the area.
Whilst employment is a major land use, planning permission has also been granted for allotments, sports facilities, and two house plots. The Trust`s vision for the camp includes offices (with “hot desking” facilities) as part of the redevelopment of the category A Listed buildings as a `Futures Centre`, including a museum, limited self-catering accommodation and visitor amenities. The unique character of the camp, and its interest to visitors, provides opportunities for artisan workshops, which necessarily would involve direct sales. It is noted that Policy ED3(f) provides this flexibility to support such businesses in rural areas, where the use is ancillary to the main use of the site and not prejudical to the vitality of existing retail centres.
The Trust is committed to reducing the carbon footprint of the area and supports Plan`s encouragement given to measures to reduce the potential need to commute between home and employment. Any limited housing within the camp would be designed as live-work units or be associated with a business on the camp.
Given this wide variety of uses it is considered more appropriate for the camp to be designated as a Mixed Use Area. It is noted that Supplementary Guidance has still to be drawn up to cover Mixed Use Areas and the Trust would welcome discussions with the Council as to how this could be applied to the camp.
The Trust also owns the site of the former ammunition store to the north of the camp. The site comprises 0.85 hectares and contains a redundant store building. It is noted that under Policy RD3 that the Council will support groups of housing in the countryside which fall into at least one of several categories, including “conversion or replacement of redundant non-domestic buildings” and “development on rural brownfield land”. The former ammunition store site has these characteristics, providing the opportunity to accommodate up to 5 low carbon homes.
It is recommended that all references in the text to Cultybraggan should be expressed as “Cultybraggan Camp” to make clear that they relate to the former Army facility and not to the wider area, known as Cultybraggan.