Dairy company Graham's seeks government approval of controversial project

An artist's impression of the Airthrey Green development, Sitrling
An artist's impression of the Airthrey Green development, Sitrling

Scottish dairy company Graham's is calling on the government to approve its planning application to build a £40m processing facility and 600 new homes after it was refused by the council.

Graham’s, The Family Dairy wants the Scottish government to approve its planning application for Airthrey Green in Stirling.

The plan will see the creation of a £40m processing, R&D and training dairy facility. In partnership with Mactaggart & Mickel Homes, it will also see the development of 600 houses and a new primary school.

The application, originally submitted in 2014, was recommended for approval by the Council’s Head of Planning, however, it was refused and has since been subject to a two-year planning appeal.

There are environmental concerns that the project will build houses on an area of greenbelt land, amid concerns about flooding and other issues if the building was to go ahead.

The project has been a total of eight years in the making, and is now with Kevin Stewart the Minister for Local Government and Housing for approval.

If passed, Graham's forecasts it will generate 1,425 jobs and inject £65.3m gross value added (GVA) into the Scottish economy.

Robert Graham, managing director at Graham’s is calling on the Scottish government to approve the application, which he believes is in line with the SNP’s Growth Commission report.

Mr Graham also cautioned that failure to uphold their appeal would be at odds with the First Minster’s commitments at the SNP party conference in Aberdeen to “boost the economy now, preparing for the future and building the homes that people need.”

Robert Graham said: “Approval will constitute a step-change in investment by facilitating the new dairy, while at the same time tackling the critical housing shortage for Stirling.

“However, the alternative, if the appeal is dismissed is twofold: Stirling Council’s housing shortfall will continue to deepen, reinforcing the unaffordability of housing in Stirling with wider social and economic impact; and the step-change investment in jobs, skills development and the Scottish dairy sector that is essential to building a progressive, inclusive economy will not be delivered.”