Plan to build home near Roman fort rejected a second time

A planning appeal to erect a house in a walled garden close to the site of an old Roman fort has been rejected.

The appeal was put before Perth and Kinross Council’s local review body when it met virtually on July 20.

Agents DM Hall launched an appeal on behalf of applicant Blackford Farms Ltd for planning permission to erect a house on land 80 metres south east of Keepers Cottage, Braco.

The proposal was to sub-divide a small section of the north-western corner of a large walled garden to build a house.

The walled garden is part of the Ardoch Estate and was attached to Ardoch House – a substantial country house built in the late 18th century and demolished in the 1980s.

Just north of the walled garden lies the remains of a complex Roman military site.

The historic site is of national importance as a scheduled ancient monument.

The plans were refused by Perth and Kinross Council in March 2021 because sub-dividing the walled garden would involve a “significant amount of new landscaping/boundary treatments to create a residential curtilage” and concerns the development would have an “adverse effect” on the Roman fort.

But agent DM Hall asked that consideration be given to the benefits and improvement the development would bring to the site.

The appeal submitted by DM Hall stated: “In terms of other material considerations, then the remedial works to the walls of the walled garden, and the landscaping of the whole walled garden, will be of considerable benefit to the heritage value, and landscape value, of Ardoch Estate.

“The case officer has not considered these in determining the application and should have given them at least some weight.

“We say the weight should be significant.”

During Tuesday’s meeting Cllr Willie Wilson questioned what the risk factor was to the Roman remains and said there would have been disturbance during the building of Ardoch House and the wall surrounding the garden.

He added: “Some might say, who gave the Romans planning consent in the first place?”

Independent planning adviser David Harrison said they could probably be “fairly sure” there had not been an archeological dig back when the land was cultivated to create the walled garden.

He said the suggestion from the Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust was that an archeological investigation take place prior to any development be made a condition should consent be granted.

Councillor David Illingworth supported the proposal and said it brought a “number of benefits”.

He said it would “allow the wall of the walled garden to get the maintenance it deserves.”

But while Cllr Wilson welcomed the remedial work to the wall, he felt it was incongruous having a “modest” development within such a large walled garden.

He said there was the possibility to get 10 properties within the garden and thought it would be “more appropriate” to have a comprehensive plan of what is proposed rather than “doing one house at a time.”

Cllr Lewis Simpson said he was struck by how extensive the walled garden was and he too thought it would be better to consider the whole site in its entirety.

The appeal was rejected by two votes to one.