Stirling Names

Kirk o’Muir

The Kirk (church) on the Muir in the Carron Valley, is one of the most overlooked wee gems in Stirling and is rife with a deep history. The site of a chapel dedicated to St Mary in the 15th century, probably in connection with John de Graham’s Castle and marked on maps in the 17th and 18th centuries it was demolished by the 1850s, when it became just a cemetery and the site of what may be Scotland’s smallest school, measuring 7.5m long and 4m wide!

As the location was so remote there was a risk of grave robbing and so the cemetery is dominated by a large iron cage or mort safe to keep the some of the bodies of the wealthiest people safe. This same remoteness has led to a tradition that in the late 17th century the site was used for conventicles (open air worship), when it was against the law to hold open air Christian Services, as the King, Charles II wanted to dictate how people worshipped! People were prosecuted and executed for breaking this law. To this day annual commemoration is held in August at the site.

A recent Community excavation involving the local community and Primary school children from Fintry, Buchylvie, St Ninian’s and Ballikinrain schools helped uncover the school and the oldest grave stone dating to 1682!

Stirling’s Doors Open Days & Archaeology Month 2017

Doors Open Day 2017 __ 1Doors Open Days is a great chance for both locals and visitors to get a rare view inside some of the Stirling area’s most interesting buildings, as well as to enjoy a lot of fun, free events taking place throughout the Stirling Council area. Doors Open Day / Archaeology Month is family friendly and encourages people of all ages to take an interest in their local heritage, both ancient and modern, and learn more about it.

This is Stirling’s 23rd year of taking part in Doors Open Days, this year the event is on Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th September 2017. Scottish Archaeology Month is on for the whole of September.  Highlight buildings to visit this year include Stirling Fire Station, the Sheriff Court, Carbeth Huts and new buildings in Kippen. Alternatively you could take part in an archaeological dig!

For full details of all buildings, times and events pick up a Doors open Days booklet from your local library, Council office or other venue, go to the Doors Open Days Stirling facebook or twitter pages or visit


Look out for the blue banners / balloons on participating buildings.


Doors Open Days and Scottish Archaeology Month (both supported by Historic Environment Scotland, are Stirling’s contribution to European Heritage Days, which take place throughout Europe each September.

European Heritage Days have been happening annually since 1999, they were launched by the Council of Europe in 1991 and are now run by the Council of Europe and the European Commission. This year hundreds of thousands of people in throughout the signatory States of the European Cultural Convention will celebrate Europe’s cultural heritage.

Doors Open Days and Archaeology Month, as part of European Heritage Days, highlight local skills and traditions, the history of an area, architecture and works of art, but the broader aim is to bring citizens together in harmony even though there are differences in cultures and languages.

For further information on European Heritage Days please go to

For more information on Stirling’s Doors Open Days contact

For more information on Stirling’s Archaeology Month contact



Planning Service Annual Report 2016/17

The Planning Service has recently published its Annual Report, its sixth such report prepared under the planning performance framework (PPF). The PPF captures key elements of a high-performing planning service, such as: the speed of decision-making; certainty of timescales, process and advice; delivery of good quality development; and an overall ‘open for business’ attitude.

The PPF gives a balanced measurement of the overall quality of the planning service and contributes towards driving a culture of continuous improvement.  Improvement has been a key focus of the Planning Service during the past 12 months. In December last year the Council’s Environment and Housing Committee approved our ‘Planning Service Improvement Plan’ – a three-year work programme aimed at improving decision making timescales, providing consistently high quality customer handling and focusing resources on key strategic priorities, such as the Stirling City Region Deal projects.

A critical review of the planning service’s performance, as evidenced in last year’s Annual Report report, along with stakeholder engagement and a desire to ensure the service is fit for purpose to meet the challenges of the City Deal and the emerging planning review led to the development of the Improvement Plan.

This year’s PPF is divided into three main parts: Part A looks back on the feedback provided by the Scottish Government on last year’s PPF and the progress we have made in the subsequent 12 months within development management; development planning; maintaining an effective supply of development land; and enforcement. Part B looks at our proposed service improvements; and Part C reports on a series of ‘National Headline Indicators’.

This year, the PPF illustrates that while the number of planning application determined across Scotland in the period April 2016 – March 2017 fell by 7%, the number of planning applications determined by Stirling Council in this period increased by 7%, from 736 to 790. The number of planning applications that Stirling Council processes and determines remains relatively high compared to comparable sized (by population) planning authorities.

PPF Blog_Page_1

In terms of decision-making timescales, average timescales for major application increased from 51.6 to 62.1 weeks but timescales for householder applications fell, from 8.3 to 7.5 weeks. Local (non-householder) applications remained the same at 12.4 weeks.

PPF Blog_Page_2

Reducing decision-making timescales, particularly for major development, is a key focus of the Improvement Plan.  This programme of improvement and modernisation commenced mid-way through 2016-17 and has particularly impacted on the work of Development Management. Overall, the direction of change is about ‘front-loading’ planning applications towards providing clear and consistent advice before a planning application is received and managing planning application processing to provide a quicker and smoother process to benefit all customers: applicants, partners and the local community.

Progress has been made with implementing the Improvement Plan and some improvements have been made to key performance indicators, however there remains considerable scope for further performance improvement to be made. For example, processing agreements and project management arrangements are now required for all major developments and have already been seen to deliver key projects on time, for example the application for the next phase of regeneration in Raploch.

The Annual Report highlights that we are on course to replace the adopted Local Development Plan well within the five year timeframe, with a Proposed Plan currently at Examination. It is anticipated the new plan will be adopted in December 2017, just over three years from the adoption of the current Stirling Local Development Plan. Meanwhile, work is ongoing to consolidate and update the Council’s suite of 36 Supplementary Guidance documents in order that they can be re-adopted alongside Local Development Plan 2, where required.

Progress has also been made in improving the supply of effective housing land with an increase from 3.9 years to 4.9 years, albeit this is still below the target of a five year supply. The report outlines how the planning service continues to support housing growth and work proactively with developers and landowners to bring forward sites for development, including through the preparation of a Site Delivery Document to accompany the annual Housing Land Audit. There was also an increase in the take-up of land for employment uses reported during 2016/17.

With regard to Planning Enforcement, there was a big increase in the number of cases resolved and an updated Enforcement Charter has been published which explains the role of Stirling Council’s Planning Enforcement Service, outlines the procedures and sets out the standards of service to be expected.

The PPF sets out the progress made against service improvements laid out 2015-16, many of which were ‘core business’. The most substantive improvements introduced in the last 12 months, however, were not those identified in previous PPFs but through the Improvement Plan.  These are also outlined in the report in addition to the improvement actions identified for 2017-18, which are largely those identified in the Improvement Plan.

Both the PPF and the Improvement Plan recognise that that improvement requires to be continuous; with 360° feedback and monitoring driving improvements for subsequent years. This year we have sought the views of stakeholders – councillors, architects, developer and the community – on how we are performing as a Planning Service, bringing about a new culture of performance management with our customers at the heart of driving our improvements. This year we will explore further how to achieve stakeholder feedback.

The PPF was submitted to the Scottish Government who will provide feedback on the report and the Council’s performance towards the end of the year.

You can view the Stirling Council Planning Service Annual Report 2016/17 here:

Stirling Names


For the prudish, Butt in this context is nothing to do with derrieres, rather it’s connected to archery butts where people practiced archery, a vital military skill, which were placed in the Butt Park behind the well. After 1507 the Butt Park was the focus of jousting for Kings James IVth and Vth. The Butt Well is the well next to the Butt Park, and is fed by a spring from the under the castle. The earliest reference to the well appears to be from 1582, when it was known as the Spout Well. At the bottom left of the well is worn depression caused by the erosion of hundreds of feet over the centuries stooping to fill buckets from the well. If the niche is original and not a Victorian addition then it likely held an icon of a saint which would have been removed after the reformation.

Butt Well


Dumyat is the oldest name in Stirling and relates not to the hill but to the prehistoric hillfort just below it (now known as Castle Law). Dumyat is a corruption of Dun Maeatae, which means the ‘fort of the Maeatae’.

Dumyat & WallMon

The Maeatae is the original name for the tribe that lived in Stirling around 200 AD and their name also survives in Myot Hill near Falkirk (Maeatae Hill). The Maeatae formed an alliance with the Caledonians to the North and this was the reason given by the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus for his invasion of Scotland in 208, he also said that he wanted to toughen his children up on the wild barbarian frontier…….he’d obviously seen the city on Saturday night! Septimius stayed at Craigarnhall on his campaign north, which means that for a brief couple of days in 208 Stirling was the capitol of the Roman Empire!

Material Considerations

The planning application assessment process, in its simplest form, consists of three main stages. The first involves consulting the policies and guidance in the Local Development Plan, including any supplementary guidance and national guidelines. The next stage is considering whether the proposal is in line with the policies and guidance identified. The third stage involves identifying any material planning considerations that could justify a departure from policy.


DM Blog 2__



Therefore, when considering a proposal an officer can take into account material planning considerations.  These cover a wide range of issues including:


Blog 3_diagram2


Weight varies in every instance, it’s not about ticking all of these. Only one material consideration needs to be valid for an officer to be able to depart from planning policy, however this must be of significant importance to do so.

Therefore, when making a comment on an application, whether positive or negative, try to stick to issues that are material planning considerations as these hold validity in the planning process and can be used when considering whether to recommend the approval or refusal of an application. Issues that are not material considerations cannot be considered when assessing an application, these include:


Blog 3_diagram3


Further information on what is and is not a material planning consideration can be found at:


Stirling Names

Have you ever wondered why there’s no harbour at Port Street or where the Loch in Raploch was? Stirling Council’s archaeologist, Dr Murray Cook explains the hidden meanings behind some of Stirling’s everyday street and placenames. If you have a question about Stirling’s amazing past please email

Port Street

Barrasyet bronze plaque

Port is the old Scots word for gate, Port Street is actually Gate Street, Stirling being a walled city! The medieval gate was destroyed in 1770 and was known as the Barrasyet (Barra’s Yet, Burgh’s Yett or Gate) and it was here where the limbs of traitors were displayed and where Bonnie Prince Charlie arrived at 2pm on Monday 6th January 1746. This was also where Stirling’s medieval lepers gathered looking for charity as they were banned from the city. Under the bronze plaque in the photo, the yellow circle shows the direction of the nearest air raid shelter from WW2!


well Green

The Well on the Green….most people miss the ancient spring in the north-west corner of the Wellgreen carpark (the low squat building in the corner), but this ancient well,  named St Ninian’s Well was the main water supply for this part of the city in the 17th and 18th century. If you stand at the door you can still hear the water running! Infamously this was also the location in 1659, where Bessie Stevenson confessed to performing an act of witchcraft for which she was subsequently executed!


Community Council Training


On 7th February and 20th March we held training for Community Councils. Two sessions were held at Old Viewforth in Stirling and Balfron High School. The aim of these sessions was to provide information about the planning process, and discuss the role of Community Councils. The training provided an opportunity to understand how Community Councils can best be involved in the planning process and influence decisions. Some of the topics covered included:

When involvement is most valuable

The planning application stage allows for community based consultation but this is often too late to influence proposals. Where Community Councils have greatest influence in shaping their places is with the Local Development Plan. By engaging in the Development Plan process, communities can help to shape the plan with their local priorities at the forefront.


How planning applications are assessed

In planning there is rarely absolutes or standards – planning decisions mostly involve judgement. In reaching a conclusion there is always a balance of judgements and considerations although some cases are more clearly balanced one way or other. It is unavoidable that sometimes some parties will be happy with the decision and some will not.

There are three main steps in considering a planning application:

Threemainstepsconsidering a planapp

What makes good Placemaking – why is it important in planning decisions?

We also explained the term ‘placemaking’. Placemaking is a term used in planning to describe not just how a place will look on the ground, but also how people will use the place. Good placemaking contributes to a feeling of wellbeing. Placemaking considers the physical, economic and social impacts that new development can have within the site boundary, and the contribution it can make to the wider place within which it sits. Placemaking is also a way of working, which is inclusive and collaborative, involving the right people at the right time. Some of the indicators of good Placemaking include:


Many planning decisions are concerned with making good placemaking. By you providing comments to us about what you think about a new development – a new place – based on the above principles then you will have good potential to influence many types of planning decisions. If you do that, then we will together have provided for good placemaking.

Feedback and moving forward

Staff valued the opportunity to meet with, talk to, and build relationships with members of Community Councils that were able to attend the sessions held in February. The sessions proved popular overall, and demand was expressed for more opportunities to engage with the Planning Authority in future sessions. Involvement was useful to the majority of those who attended, and feedback suggests that future sessions would be welcomed. In organising future events we’d like to know what Community Councils would find most helpful, and will consider topic suggestions in the comments below (alternatively these can be emailed to We would also encourage those not involved to consider engaging with/keeping up-to-date with the work of their local Community Council.





We would like to again thank everyone that participated in these workshops for their participation and attendance.

Local Development Plan

The Council have submitted the Proposed Local Development Plan 2016 for examination by Scottish Ministers. Ministers have appointed Trevor Croft BSc DipTRP ARSGS FRSA MRTPI to carry out the examination of the plan, although additional reporters have been appointed to aid the speedy delivery of the report. The examination of the plan is expected to be concluded by November 2017.

The examination will cover any unresolved issues from the public consultation which was carried out between 11th July and 23rd September 2016. An unresolved issue is where, for example, there has been an objection to a local development plan site or policy and the Council does not agree to modify the plan. This is then noted in a ‘Schedule 4’ document which summarises comments, what modifications to the plan were sought, the Council’s response and space for the reporter to come to a conclusion and make recommendations.


The Council has provided the reporter with a summary of all the issues to be assessed at examination. The Schedule 4’s are available to view online at the Directorate of Planning and Environmental Appeals (DPEA) website (link below). We have also provided the reporter with copies of the representations received by the Council during consultation. Further information about the examination, Schedule 4 Forms, Further Information Requests, Further Information Responses, Document Lists, any Hearing and Inquiry Statements and, in due course, the Report can be viewed on the DPEA website:


The Proposed Plan and supporting documents can be viewed on the Council’s website:


The examination will cover only those issues discussed in the Schedule 4. There is now no further opportunity to make representations to the plan. If you have previously made a representation to the plan it is unlikely that you will be asked to submit further information, however if required you will be notified of this directly from the DPEA. We have been informed by the DPEA that a hearing will take place regarding Housing Land Supply and Housing Land policies. This is expected to take place in June 2017.


A guidance note that explains development plan examinations for people who have submitted representations is available at:


If you require further information about the progress of the examination please contact Morag Smith, Planning and Environmental Appeals Division, 4 The Courtyard, Callendar Business Park, Falkirk, FK1 1XR, or 01324 696460, or


Or contact the Planning Policy Team at Teith House, Kerse Road, Stirling, FK7 7QA or 01786 233660 or