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Consultation on Private Bill, Belmont Estate, Meigle, Perthshire

Private Bill to amend the City of Dundee District Council Order Confirmation Act 1990

The Council is presently carrying out a consultation exercise regarding a proposal to amend the City of Dundee District Council Order Confirmation Act 1990 (“the 1990 Act”) as it relates to Belmont Estate, Meigle, Blairgowrie, Perthshire PH12 8TH.

A copy of the 1990 Act and a plan of Belmont Estate (which includes Belmont Castle) are available as downloads. The link to the Council’s decision is 257-2013. Information regarding the proposed Private Bill is set out below.

OBJECTIVES OF THE BILL

Summary
Dundee City Council proposes to dispose of Belmont Estate by sale or lease and either in whole or in part. Dundee City Council currently maintains Belmont Estate at a cost to the City of Dundee. Belmont Estate is approximately 7 miles from the Dundee City Council boundary and lies within the local government area of Perth and Kinross Council. Due to it’s location it does not provide facilities which are readily accessible to the citizens of Dundee.

The 1990 Act currently provides that, if Dundee City Council disposes of any part of Belmont Estate, the proceeds of any such disposal and any other receipts of a capital nature arising in connection with Belmont Estate shall be applied towards capital expenditure in connection with Belmont Estate including the improvement of Belmont Estate.

The objective of the proposed Private Bill is to amend the 1990 Act to remove this restriction on the use of the funds from disposal of any part of Belmont Estate that is currently contained within section 12 of the schedule to the 1990 Act. The removal of this restriction will enable Dundee City Council to apply the funds from the disposal of any part of Belmont Estate to the benefit of the City of Dundee and thus remove or reduce the cost of maintaining Belmont Estate.  The proposed Private Bill will not propose any development proposals for Belmont Estate (and Belmont Castle). If development proposals were to come forward after Belmont Estate has been disposed of in whole or in part then any such development proposals would be subject to planning and related applications to which the public would be entitled to make representation.

Background

Belmont Estate was gifted to the Council’s predecessors in 1918 by Mrs Emma Marryat, sister of Sir James Caird. At the time of the gift, the intended purposes of the gift were to allow Belmont Castle to be used as a rest home for those injured in the Great War and to allow Belmont Estate to be utilised for the benefit of the community of Dundee and such other ways as the Council’s predecessors considered appropriate. Belmont Castle was let for many years as a care home for the elderly operated by the Church of Scotland Social Care Council. The care home ceased operation in 2013 and Belmont Castle is now unoccupied.

The Belmont Centre, which is on Belmont Estate, is currently let to the Scottish Outdoor Education Centres, who have a lease until 2114. They are a registered Scottish charity who provide outdoor education to children across three centres in Scotland, the others being at Broomlee near Edinburgh and Doonans in the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. The Belmont Centre, because of the length of the lease, can continue to use Belmont Estate for outdoor educational purposes.

Overall, there is no longer any strategic reason for Dundee City Council to continue to own Belmont Estate. However, if it uses existing powers as a local authority to sell Belmont Estate, the 1990 Act contains an impediment in respect of the use of the proceeds of disposal.

Although the 1990 Act does not contain any legal restriction on the disposal of  Belmont Estate, the effect of section 12 is to create a practical restriction by specifying that the funds from the disposal of any part of Belmont Estate must be applied towards expenditure in connection with Belmont Estate. Dundee City Council requires the ability to dispose of Belmont Estate (by sale or lease) in whole or in part in circumstances where the proceeds from that disposal can be applied for the benefit of the City of Dundee.

Section 12 of the 1990 Act states that

“If the Council dispose of any part of Belmont Estate, the proceeds of any such disposal and any other receipts of a capital nature arising in connection Belmont Estate shall be applied towards capital expenditure in connection with Belmont Estate including the improvement of  Belmont Estate and until such time as the moneys are so applied the same shall be separately funded and the income derived from the investment of the fund shall be included in and form part of the ordinary income of Belmont Estate”.

ALTERNATIVE APPROACHES

When considering the need for a Private Bill to amend the 1990 Act in relation to the proceeds of disposal of Belmont Estate, given the restrictions on the proceeds of disposal contained in section 12 of the 1990 Act, it is considered that there is no other appropriate legislative route for Dundee City Council to adopt in order to reach a position where it is able to apply the proceeds of disposal of part or the whole of Belmont Estate for the benefit of the City of Dundee.

THE COUNCIL’S PROPOSALS FOR BELMONT ESTATE IF THE PRIVATE BILL IS ENACTED

If the proposed Private Bill is enacted, Dundee City Council proposes to dispose of Belmont Estate (by sale or lease) in whole or in part  on the open market.

The Private Bill will not impact in any way upon any other land owned by Dundee City Council and the limited powers sought in the Private Bill will relate only to Belmont Estate.

CONSULTATION

Dundee City Council has allowed a period of 12 weeks for a consultation exercise of its proposals for a Private Bill in respect of Belmont Estate. Consultees include the residents of Belmont Estate, the Church of Scotland, the tenant of Belmont Camp, and Perth and Kinross Council.  The responses to the consultation exercise will assist in informing Dundee City Council’s decision making in relation to the Private Bill.

The area of Meigle and Ardler does not have a Community Council. However the elected representatives of the area who are members of Perth and Kinross Council and the Westminster Parliament have been invited to comment on the proposed Private Bill.

Comments are sought by Dundee City Council on the proposed Private Bill and must  be provided in writing or by email no later than 11th August 2017 to the following address:

The Legal Manager, Corporate Services
Dundee City Council, 21 City Square
Dundee DD1 3BY
Email:  kenny.mckaig@dundeecity.gov.uk

Telephone enquiries should be made to 01382 434505 or 01382 434209

Start Date: 
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 to Friday, August 11, 2017