Stirling Council rejects purpose-built tennis centre proposal


Plans for Scotland's first purpose-built tennis centre, promoted by Judy Murray, have been rejected by councillors.

The centre at Park of Keir - between Dunblane and Bridge of Allan - included golf facilities and new homes, and attracted high-profile backers including Sir Alex Ferguson and Colin Montgomerie.

Campaigners against the development said the proposed site was on valuable greenbelt land and council planning officers recommended it be refused.

A number of objections were raised by local residents and officers said the residential element did not fit Scottish planning policy.

A Stirling Council spokeswoman said: "Having carefully considered and discussed extensively all the arguments for and against this proposal, Stirling Council's planning and regulation panel has today refused the application for a development at Park of Keir."

Ms Murray had said she wanted to create a legacy to the success of her tennis hero sons Andy and Jamie, who have won grand slam tennis titles and led Great Britain to a historic Davis Cup win in November.

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex said Ms Murray had set out an "amazing vision" to help young people.

The plans, which were first announced in 2013, included six indoor and six outdoor tennis courts as well as a six-hole golf course, practice range and coaching facilities.

A hotel and luxury housing was also being planned, with construction to be overseen by the King Group, who have owned the land since 2009.

Earlier this month, Ms Murray said: "For us as a family, it is all about legacy of what Jamie and Andy have achieved throughout their careers.

"Two brothers from a small town that has no track record of tennis taking on the world and winning."

The proposal was rejected by five votes to three, according to the Scottish Greens.

Mark Ruskell, the party's councillor for Dunblane and Bridge of Allan, said: "I'm delighted that this proposal has been rejected.

"It would have been totally wrong to rip up our democratically-agreed local plan to make room for executive housing on this treasured greenbelt area.

"For over 25 years, local communities have fought against development at Park of Keir.

"Judy Murray had a good idea but it was in completely the wrong location - I'm sure that sporting legacy can be secured elsewhere."

Alston Birnie, from the Park of Keir Partnership, said: "We are obviously extremely disappointed by today's decision. We felt we put forward a strong case for a sports facility of national significance. We want to take time to reflect on the decision today before deciding the next steps."