Development Management: November 2017 update

During November 2017, the council received 121 applications for planning permission and other consents, including listed building and conservation area consents and applications for works to protected trees.  During the same period, the council decided 106 applications, only six of which were refused planning permission.

On 14 November, planning permission was granted, under delegated powers, for an additional 43 static holiday lodges/caravans at the Lilliardsedge Holiday Park, located within the woodland strip that runs alongside the A68 north of Jedburgh (SBC Ref: 16/01342/FUL).

On 22 November, planning permission and listed building consent was granted, under delegated powers, for the erection of the gallery and the change of use of the old post office in Channel Street, Galashiels to house the Great Tapestry of Scotland, which is made up of 160 hand-stitched panels depicting the history of Scotland from 8,500BC.  This proposal requires the demolition of the former “Poundstretchers” retail unit at 14-20 High Street and substantial internal and external alterations to the former post office building (see SBC Refs: 17/01300/FUL, 17/01301/LBC & 17/01302/CON).  The project will cost in excess of £6.5m and is expected to be completed in early 2020.  It is estimated it will attract over 50,000 visitors a year.  The council has described it as “one of the most significant town centre economic development projects of recent years”.  The revitalisation of Galashiels town centre has come a step closer!

As intimated in the previous post, dated 13 November 2017, the Planning and Building Standards Committee on 6 November decided to grant planning permission for the council’s waste transfer station at Easter Langlee, Galashiels (SBC Ref: 17/01149/FUL), notwithstanding a valiant effort by the Coopersknowe and Easter Langlee Residents Association and objections from other nearby residents.  The Planning and Building Standards Committee also approved the erection of five dwellinghouses on land south-east of Craigard on Canongate in Denholm, against the wishes of Denholm and District Community Council and a number of objectors (SBC Ref: 17/00228/FUL).  The committee accepted the view of the Chief Planning Officer that the proposed development would represent an acceptable form of infill development consistent with local development plan policies.  At the same meeting, the committee approved the change of use of a joiner’s workshop at The Row, Allanton in Berwickshire into a dwellinghouse notwithstanding a number of objections from neighbouring householders and the concerns of Edrom, Allanton and Whitsome Community Council regarding access to the property and parking difficulties (SBC Ref: 17/00652/FUL).

The Local Review Body (LRB) met on 8 November to continue consideration of a request to review the refusal of planning permission by the Chief Planning Officer under delegated powers for the erection of a micro meat processing unit and byre on land at Hardiesmill Place, Gordon in Berwickshire (SBC Ref: 17/00239/FUL & 17/00036/RREF).  Following a site visit and consideration of additional information, the LRB decided that the positive economic benefits of the proposal to the business at Hardiesmill Place and to the wider economy outweighed the visual impact of the proposed building and granted planning permission for the proposed development.  The LRB also met on 20 November to consider requests for the review of four decisions made by the Chief Planning Officer under delegated powers to refuse planning permission.  Two of these decisions related to developments at Kirkburn, Cardrona; the erection of a hay shed and a tractor shed (SBC Refs: 17/01112/FUL & 17/01113/FUL).  In both these cases, the LRB decided that the officer’s decision to refuse the planning application be upheld.  The LRB also decided to uphold the officer’s decision to refuse a retrospective planning application for the erection of a boundary fence at 33 Justice Park, Oxton (SBC Ref: 17/00308/FUL).  However, the Chief Planning Officer’s decision to refuse a planning application for alterations and extension to a dwellinghouse at 1 Glenkinnon, near Ashiestiel Bridge, Clovenfords was reversed by four votes to three (SBC Ref: 17/00472/FUL).

As previously intimated in the post, dated 13 November 2017, the Planning and Building Standards Committee, at its meeting on 6 November, refused planning permission for the construction of a wind farm comprising 12 turbines at Pines Burn, south west of Hobkirk against the advice of the Chief Planning Officer (SBC Ref: 17/00010/FUL).  After continuing the application from the previous meeting for a site visit, the committee also decided to refuse planning permission, against the advice of the Chief Planning Officer, 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).

The number of appeals to Scottish Ministers against the council’s refusal of planning permission continues to rise.  The applicant in respect of the refusal of planning permission for the proposed poultry building at Hutton Hall Barns has wasted no time in submitting an appeal to Scottish Ministers (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2065).  Four other appeals remain outstanding, in respect of: (1) the erection of a poultry building at Easter Happrew in the Manor Valley, west of Peebles (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2062); (2) the erection of storage and distribution buildings and an ancillary dwellinghouse on land outside Dolphinton (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2063); (3) a residential development of 38 dwellings at Marchmont Road, Greenlaw in Berwickshire (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2059); and (4) a proposed windfarm of eight turbines at Howpark, Grantshouse, also in Berwickshire (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2060).  The appeal against the council’s decision to refuse planning permission for the relocation of the Job Centre to retail units on Douglas Bridge, Galashiels was upheld on 30 November.  In allowing the appeal, the Reporter considered that there was no evidence that the loss of the two retail units proposed for the Job Centre would result in a shortage of retail units available to let either within the Galashiels town centre Core Activity Area (CAA) or the town centre as a whole.  The Reporter considered that the proposed use would make a significant positive contribution to the core retail function of the CAA and would enhance the character, vitality, viability and mixed use nature of the town centre.

Four applications for windfarms, submitted to the Scottish Government under Section 36 of the 1989 Act, to which the Scottish Borders Council has objected, remain to be determined.  An inquiry into the application for a 14 turbine wind farm at Whitelaw Brae, near Tweedsmuir in Peeblesshire was held in September 2016.  The report of the inquiry has been sent to Scottish Ministers for determination and a decision is awaited (see DPEA case reference WIN-140-4).  An inquiry into the application for a 12 turbine extension to the existing Fallago Rig wind farm in the Lammermuir Hills and the application to extend the operational life of the existing wind farm to coincide with that of the extension (if approved) was held in August 2017.  The details of both cases can be found on the DPEA website (case references WIN-140-5 & WIN-140-6).  It is likely to be next year before a decision on these applications is forthcoming.  An application for the erection of 15 wind turbines on land at Birneyknowe, near Bonchester Bridge, south-east of Hawick, to which the Scottish Borders Council, the community council, many residents of the local community and others have objected is to be the subject of further examination.  A pre-examination meeting to discuss and agree the scope and programming of the subsequent inquiry and hearing was held in the Hawick Rugby Club Rooms on 25 October 2017.  The inquiry and hearing sessions have been provisionally programmed for March 2018 so this case has a long way to run (see DPEA case reference WIN-140-7).

Author: douglas hope

Over fifty years experience in town and country planning, including twenty-one years with the Borders Regional Council (1975-1996) and twenty years with the Scottish Government as a Reporter for the Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals.