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12 May 2015, 12:38
Plans to stage T in the Park at Strathallan Castle this summer have been approved by councillors.
It comes after months of debate, consultation and negotiations, with some local residents and environmental groups opposing the plans.
DF Concerts, which runs Scotland's biggest music festival, announced last year that it had to move from its regular site in Balado as safety concerns grew over its proximity to a large oil pipeline.
It was initially thought that the event could operate in the grounds of the 19th-century Strathallan Castle with a permitted development and a public entertainment licence, but the discovery of osprey at Strathallan meant a formal planning application and an environmental statement was required with Perth and Kinross Council.
Two public consultations on the application have been held, with some environmental groups and local residents critical of the plans.
Concerns were also raised about traffic arrangements for the event, anti-social behaviour and impact on the local wildlife.
Last month, Perth and Kinross Council's development management committee recommended approving the move with a series of conditions.
It was recommended that the festival be held at Strathallan Castle for three years to "assess its impact''.
Councillors have now approved the application for the festival to be held between July 10 and 12 after a formal debate today.
DF Concerts chief executive Geoff Ellis welcomed the news and said organisers want to work with "all residents to ensure that we are excellent neighbours and minimise any disruption to local life''.
He said: "We're happy that the committee has approved our application and our team can get on with the plans for a fantastic first year of T in the Park at Strathallan Castle.
"We'd like to thank the business and tourism sector who recognise the value of the event as one of Scotland's national treasures and offered tremendous support throughout the process.
"Most importantly, massive thanks go to the local communities surrounding Strathallan who spent a huge amount of their own precious time to show the country that they warmly welcome T in the Park.
"We will deliver a festival to make them proud and look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship, just like the one we had in Kinross and Milnathort for the last 18 years.
"We do also understand that not everyone wanted the event at Strathallan but we would hope that these people now accept the decision following what has undoubtedly been the most rigorous and intensive process for staging an event in Scotland's history.
"It is our intention to work closely with all residents to ensure that we are excellent neighbours and minimise any disruption to local life.
"We also hope they will appreciate that it is our intention to continue to work with the relevant authorities and organisations to ensure the long-term protection and safe-guarding of the local environment surrounding Strathallan.''
T in the Park was first held at Strathclyde Park in Glasgow in 1994 before moving to Balado, near Kinross, three years later.
Despite the debate over the application, the line-up for the festival has been announced, with Kasabian, The Libertines, Twin Atlantic and Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds named as some of the headline acts.
RSPB Scotland, which had raised concerns over osprey nests in the castle grounds, said the conditions of the approval must be "fully adhered to''
A spokeswoman said: "Perth and Kinross Council has taken the final decision that T in the Park can go ahead at Strathallan Castle this July and in the following two summers.
"The very strict conditions required by RSPB Scotland have been included for the event, which is welcome, but the focus must now be on making sure that these will be fully adhered to, to minimise the risk of any disturbance to birds and other wildlife at the site.
"DF Concerts must implement their plans for reducing disturbance immediately and ensure there will be strict monitoring of Strathallan on the weekend of T in the Park, but also during preparations for the event and the clean-up afterwards.''
Carol Evans, director of the Woodland Trust Scotland, said: "We're disappointed by the decision to approve T in the Park, which demonstrates a disregard for the impacts on the woodland surrounding Strathallan Estate.
"This long-established woodland is home to a number of species including bats, red squirrels and ospreys.
"While we are not against the festival, these woods are too valuable for wildlife to hold an event of this size in such close proximity due to impacts including artificial light, noise and litter.''