LISTEN: Fergus McCallum explains what the petition means to his family.
The family behind the proposal of The Wee Choo-Choo Thai restaurant have launched an online petition seeking local support to allow their project to proceed.
The McCallum family – Fergus, Isara and Mia – sought to give the town something new and unique whilst honouring the history of the town by using an old railway carriage.
Mia McCallum said:
“As a young person I got to experience living internationally and experiencing a lot of different things that a lot of young people I know haven’t been able to experience.
“I wanted to bring something to Pitlochry that was unique and at the same time showing my Thai culture in a way that some people might not have experienced before.
Asked how it would impact their lives should the council reconsider, Mia McCallum said:
“It would change my life.
Fergus McCallum added:
“I think it will change our life.
“We’re not a rich family, we’ve worked hard, and we’ve invested our life savings in it.
“We’re six or seven months behind, we’ve racked up considerable legal costs, we’ve had to close the business that my wife and daughter run in town.
“We’ve had to close that down to try and conserve cash flow because we’re several months behind and also to try and continue to pay for professional fees.
“We are in quite severe financial distress and that is having an impact.
“It changes our life because it gives my wife and my daughter a future, an employment opportunity and a way to move forward in the future.
“My daughter is 19. It gives her a long-term future, a purpose and a career in the town that she loves to live in.
Following the decision of the Sub-Committee in June, Perth and Kinross Council said:
“In terms of our duty to deliver best value, the Council was required to make a decision as the landowner about whether it was prepared to lease the land for Class 3 business use.
“When the Property Sub-Committee met in June, it was asked to decide whether to lease the land for Class 3 business use in general, not on the merits of any specific proposals.
“Councillors voted five to two against putting the site on the open market for lease.”
The outpouring of support for the family has been overwhelming with the online petition reaching over 980 signatures.
Mr McCallum added:
“My wife has been very emotionally impacted by the level of support and has been very tearful. Not tearful out of sadness, tearful out of joy.
“She’s crying because she’s so proud. Proud of her community, proud of what’s happening.
“I believe everyone has the right to be heard and I totally support the right of the three people who objected to be heard.
“I think it’s important that the council allows it to be heard again and hear the facts. There is no loss of parking spaces, hear the facts that a large number of people support the project.
“It would be nice if the council would try to listen to the voice of the community. I think the community supports us and I want to say thank you to the community for that support. “
“I would love to see them (the council) give me the opportunity try to bring something new and new attractions to Pitlochry.
“There’s not a lot going on for young people like me and it’s a different culture as well.
“I just want to say that I’m grateful for all of the support and all the comments we have received so far.”
The petition to support The Wee Choo-Choo can be found on change.org HERE.