We had a momentous response to our campaign to save the 250 year-old Scots pine in Perth Academy’s grounds. More than 530 emails were sent to members of the Perth and Kinross Planning Committee in advance of their decisive meeting on the subject yesterday, and your effects were clearly felt in the debate!
All the councillors were well briefed; those who supported saving the tree mentioned the huge public support they had for their position; whilst those who favoured approving the application for a sports pitch admitted that they had reached their position after carefully considering the representations they had received in opposition to the advice of their planning officials.
Sadly, when the issue came to a vote, the councillors split evenly – six to approve the application and six to refuse. The Convener of the Committee then used his casting vote to approve the application for a new all-weather sports pitch.
But it’s not over
A note of hope was struck in the Convener’s summing up, as he addressed the Academy pupils who lined the public gallery. He stressed that he was supporting the application as he did not believe there were any material Planning grounds on which he could refuse it. However, he recognised that the decision to cut down the tree was ultimately one for the school, and he suggested that a new application which would resite the pitch and save the tree could come forward.
So, now it comes down to the pupils, parents and teachers of the school. Can they convince the school’s senior management team, and the officials of the Education Department that they should not use the permission that they now have? Can they win the argument to go back to the drawing board? Can they work together to look at the various different options for alternative layouts of the playing fields so that everyone can feel involved and buy into the best solution for the future?
This now is an internal matter for the school and the Council, but we are sure that the school pupils will let us know of any progress, so please keep an eye on Woodland Matters for future updates.
We want to thank everyone who helped us by supporting the public campaign over the last five hectic weeks. You were amazing!