Dairy dream is back on

Court of Session overturns Scottish Government ruling

Graham’s MD Robert Graham hopes to build a new dairy site near Stirling.

PLANS for a new £40m dairy site in Stirling have been revived following a ruling in favour of Graham’s the Family Dairy at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

Graham’s has been working in partnership with developer Mactaggart & Mickel in a bid to get a major housing project off the ground, which the dairy said would then provide the revenue to fund its expansion.

Stirling Council denied planning permission for the proposed 600-home Airthrey Kerse development near Bridge of Allan in March 2016 and an appeal to the Scottish Government to overrule the council was rejected last year.

The Court of Session has now quashed that Scottish Government ruling, pulling the proposal back from the brink.

Graham’s MD Robert Graham told Scottish Grocer the firm will continue to seek permission for the housing development, which he believes must now be reconsidered in light of the ruling.

“We’re really pleased. I think the main thing is that the court has found the government hasn’t considered it properly. The government couldn’t have come to the decision they did if they had considered our application properly.

“The planners took no consideration of the economic impact, which made it hard for us to understand the decision when people talk about the economy being important.

“We knew we had a strong case because we couldn’t believe the [initial] decision,” he said.

Should Graham’s and Mactaggart & Mickel gain permission to construct their 600-home development, the proposed accompanying dairy processing and research facility could represent a major expansion for the sector.

Graham’s previously estimated that its proposed dairy site would create 400 jobs and 50 apprenticeships at a “critical time” for the Scottish dairy sector.

“People are looking for more local products. If you look at our industry, the UK is the second largest net importer of dairy products in the world,” said Graham.