As expected, the Planning and Building Standards Committee decided, on 6 November, to grant planning permission for the council’s proposed waste transfer station at Easter Langlee, Galashiels (SBC Ref: 17/01149/FUL). The Committee was persuaded that the additional measures proposed to improve the Langshaw Road (C77), particularly the installation of street-lighting, were sufficient to overcome any road safety concerns. Planning permission was granted subject to fifteen conditions which require, amongst other things, the submission before development commences of a Construction Environment Management Plan (CEMP) to include a Risk Assessment, Drainage Management Plan and a Site Waste Management Plan; a Species Protection Plan, Ground Investigation Report, a Scheme for road improvements, including street lighting and a Construction Traffic Management Plan. No doubt, the Coopersknowe and Easter Langlee Residents Association and other nearby residents, who opposed the proposed development, will keep an eye on the progress of the preparation and approval of these various plans BEFORE development commences.
Another controversial application, for the construction of a windfarm comprising 12 turbines at Pines Burn, south west of Hobkirk (SBC Ref: 17/00010/FUL), was refused by the Committee against the advice of the Chief Planning Officer. The Committee considered that the proposal was contrary to policy ED9 of the adopted Local Development Plan on the grounds that it would have unacceptable significant adverse impacts on the landscape character and visual amenity of the locality and would dominate residential properties at nearby Langburnshiels. The Committee also felt that the proposal would give rise to significant and unacceptable impacts upon the setting and appreciation of known archaeological sites and a historic landscape. In reaching this decision, the committee placed more weight on the fact that the proposed turbines, seven of which were 149.9m high to the blade tip and five of which were 130m high to the blade tip, exceeded the threshold of 120m identified in the 2016 Ironside Farrar Landscape Capacity Report which forms the basis for the council’s draft Supplementary Planning Guidance on Renewable Energy. Although this draft supplementary guidance has been out to public consultation, it has not yet been adopted by the council. Council officers attached more weight to the 2013 Ironside Farrar Landscape Capacity and Cumulative Impact Study, which offers some support for wind farms with ‘very large’ turbines over 100m high at this location. If there is an appeal to Scottish Ministers against this decision, it will be interesting to see what the Reporter from the Department for Environmental and Planning Appeals decides.
After continuing the application from the previous meeting for a site visit, the Planning and Building Standards Committee also decided to refuse planning permission for the erection of a poultry building to house 32,000 free-range birds at Hutton Hall Barns, west of Hutton village in Berwickshire (SBC Ref: 17/00623/FUL). Although the Chief Planning Officer considered that there was clear support for the proposal in that the proposed development met the requirements of the Council’s policies on economic development within the countryside and any adverse impact of the proposed building on the landscape and nearby residential properties would be limited, the Committee considered that the proposed development was inappropriate to the rural character of the area and would have an unacceptable adverse visual impact on existing residential properties. The Committee also considered that the development would result in the permanent loss of prime agricultural land, contrary to policy ED10 of the Local Development Plan. The Committee was also concerned that no evidence had been provided to demonstrate that the proposed development would not give rise to the unacceptable pollution of the adjoining watercourse to the detriment of the water environment and local biodiversity. The applicant has already intimated their desire to appeal to Scottish Ministers against this decision.