PLANS to build 600 homes in Bridge of Allan are back on the table, following a ruling from the Court of Session.

Senior judges overturned the decision to reject the proposals for the development at Airthrey Kerse.

Stirling Council blocked the bid in June 2016, with Scottish Ministers backing the move when it was appealed.

However, the Court of Session ruled that they failed to consider evidence of a potential long-term housing shortage in the area.

Scotland's most senior judge, the Lord President Lord Carloway, said that the Scottish ministers' decision had failed to show whether or not they had considered this shortfall.

The latest ruling has been described as a "kick in the teeth" for the residents of Bridge of Allan.

The development has been proposed by Graham's the Family Dairy along with Mactaggart & Mickel Homes, and include plans for a dairy, along with the construction of a primary school and a 90-acre public park.

Company officials expressed their frustration at the current planning system but say they will forge ahead with efforts to bring the project to fruition.

Robert Graham, managing director of the family-owned business, said: “For over 10 years, Stirling Council has failed to meet the Scottish Government’s housing requirements. This failure of provision now sits at close to 900 homes.

"The decision also recognises that Stirling’s recent Local Development Plan has failed to allocate sufficient land for new homes."

He added: “The Court of Session gave the Scottish Government a very clear message with the decision.

"It is disappointing that, as a family business, and doing things that tie in with what the government say they are prioritising – creating homes and growing the Scottish economy.

"[The process] has been so drawn out and led to us taking this to a successful challenge. It is just a very poor process.”

Mr Graham noted that the company could take on board some of the observations made by the independent reporter.

Keith Brown, SNP MSP for Clackmannanshire and Dunblane, has called for the matter to be finally dealt with as a matter of urgency.

He added: “I am deeply disappointed that the people I represent in Bridge of Allan will have to go through a further period of uncertainty over this protracted planning application.

“The Scottish Government Reporter’s decision on the appeal against Stirling Council’s planning determination has been found to be flawed.

"This matter must now be dealt with as urgently as possible under due process to finally bring it to a conclusion.”

The Conservatives' Alexander Stewart, MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, added: “As a Bridge of Allan resident, I am acutely disappointed at this decision.

"It is a kick in the teeth to the Bridge of Allan and wider communities who do not want it and who voiced this loud and clear with over 440 letters of objection originally submitted before rightly being rejected by Stirling Council in March 2016.

"I echo the comments of my MP colleague, Stephen Kerr plus I agree with the independent planning reporter’s view that potential benefits to the town which were rolled out, do not outweigh the loss of a significant area of sensitive greenbelt land and I agreed with the upholding of Stirling Council’s original decision to reject the planning application.

"I was as relieved then as I am disappointed now – as will the Bridge of Allan Community be – especially as the knock-on effect of this development to the already busy schools, the threat to road safety, as well as the general infrastructure of the town will be enormous.

"The whole area is also well known as a flood plain which could represent a clear threat to anything built there, so the basis for this new ruling is difficult to comprehend and I will be seeking clarity on it, going forward.”

Meanwhile, Mark Ruskell, Green MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife and former Stirling Councillor, stood firm in his opposition to green belt developments.

He said: “This may be a symbolic victory for the Graham’s on a narrow issue of process, but it does not change the fact that local plans have consistently ruled out development on Airthrey Kerse.

"The arguments against sprawling housing plans on green belt have only grown in recent years, while the world has moved on and housing need is being met by developments elsewhere in the Stirling area.”

A Stirling Council spokesperson added: “We acknowledge today’s ruling by the Court of Session which upholds an appeal against a decision taken by Scottish Ministers to refuse plans for a housing development at Airthrey Kerse.

“The council are not a party to this matter which was a private case between the developer and the Scottish Government, however, the council maintains its position that it has sufficient housing land supply.”