During January 2018, the Scottish Borders Council received 115 applications for planning permission and other consents, including listed building and conservation area consents and applications for works to protected trees. During the same month, the council decided 96 applications, only seven of which were refused planning permission. Six of these refusals related to the erection or extension of dwellinghouses. An application for the demolition of existing industrial buildings at Elders Yard at Newtown St. Boswells and the erection of four dwellinghouses was refused by the Planning and Building Standards Committee on 8 January, on the casting vote of the Chairman (SBC Ref: 17/01342/PPP). The decision to refuse planning permission, against the recommendation of the Chief Planning Officer, was on the grounds that the development would result in the loss of industrial land and premises and there is sufficient housing land allocation elsewhere in the village. At its meeting on 5 February, the Planning and Building Standards Committee granted planning permission for the erection of 75 affordable houses on land north-west of Springfield Avenue, Duns (SBC Ref: 17/00993/FUL), subject to a number of conditions and the conclusion of a legal agreement relating to the provision of a footpath link with either Bridgend or Currie Street.
On 19 February, the Council’s Local Review Body (LRB) considered three applications to review decisions of the Chief Planning Officer to refuse planning permission for (1) the erection of a temple on land south-west of Kirkburn Parish Church, Cardrona in Peeblesshire; (2) the erection of a dwellinghouse on land at Peelburnfoot, in the Tweed Valley near Clovenfords; and (3) the erection of a dwellinghouse at Macbiehill, near West Linton in Peeblesshire. The LRB upheld the Chief Planning Officer’s decision to refuse planning permission for the temple at Kirkburn on the grounds of scale and prominence in the landscape and the fact that no overriding justification of need had been provided. The LRB, however, reversed the Chief Planning Officer’s decision to refuse planning permission for a dwellinghouse at Macbiehill, West Linton and granted planning permission subject to a number of conditions and a Section 75 Agreement in respect of a contribution to Peebles High School. The LRB decided to continue consideration of the proposed dwellinghouse at Peelburnfoot, Clovenfords to allow consultees to respond to the submission of new evidence on the impact of the proposal on protected trees within this woodland site.
In recent months, there have been a number of pre-application notices submitted to the Council in relation to major developments. A proposal of application notice must contain an account of what consultations the applicant intends to undertake, when such consultation is to take place, with whom and what form it will take. The prospective applicant must consult the community council, within whose area the proposal is located, and hold at least one public event where members of the public may make comments to the prospective applicant. A notice of the proposed public event must be published in a local newspaper circulating in the locality in which the proposed development is situated at least 7 days before the holding of the public event.
On 23 January, the Chief Planning Officer issued a screening opinion in terms of the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations on the proposed development of 500 static caravans, 50 touring caravans and associated facilities including retail, caravan sales and café on land at Thirlestane (The Ranch), Lauder (SBC Ref: 17/01667/SCR) . Having examined the proposal in relation to the EIA Regulations, it is the opinion of the Chief Planning Officer that the proposed development does not require an Environmental Impact Assessment in this instance. However, the Chief Planning Officer considers that there is considerable potential for there to be environmental effects which may be unacceptable in their impacts upon the environment, local receptors, the site and/or the surrounding area. Consequently, appropriate information and reports in support of the proposal will be required to be submitted with the planning application to enable these effects to be properly established and assessed. In relation to the Proposal of Application Notice (SBC Ref: 17/01669/PAN), which sets out the pre-application process, a public exhibition on the proposals has yet to be arranged. The PAN states that a public event will take place within Lauder between 3pm and 8pm on an unspecified date, and that the public event would be published in the Border Telegraph at least seven days before the event. It is eagerly awaited by those that have an interest in this proposal. Any subsequent planning application must be accompanied by a Pre-Application Consultation Report, which sets out the consultations undertaken and the responses received. Watch this space!
On 5 February, the council received a request for a Screening Opinion to establish whether an Environmental Impact Assessment is required for a proposed holiday lodge and luxury camping development at the former golf course at Rutherford Castle, near West Linton (SBC Ref: 18/00118/SCR). The development proposals comprise 263 holiday lodges, 206 touring caravan pitches, 15 tree houses and 20 glamping pods. A new leisure/clubhouse facility would include a swimming pool, gym, Jacuzzi etc. A Proposal of Application Notice was submitted at the same time (18/00109/PAN). This indicates that a public event is likely to be held in Mid-March at West Linton Primary School, details to be advertised in the Peeblesshire News. So, residents of West Linton, this will be your chance to peruse the proposals for Rutherford Castle and make your views known.
A Proposal of Application Notice for a large scale mixed use development, comprising retail, office, business/light industrial, hotel, residential and non-residential institution, housing and leisure use, together with a new access from the A68 and car parking, on the Auction Mart site at Newtown St. Boswells was received on 9 February (18/00144/PAN). As part of the pre-application process, it is proposed to hold a public consultation event in the Canteen at the Auction Mart from 2pm -7pm on a date to be decided; the indicative date being 12 March 2018. The notification of the public event will require to be published at least seven days before the event.
Following the submission of a Proposal of Application Notice on 2 October 2017 (SBC Ref: 17/01367/PAN), a planning application has now been submitted by Springfield Properties for the erection of 57 affordable dwellings on land west of Borlaroc on Main Street, Chirnside (18/00147/FUL). The Pre-Application Consultation Report indicates that 31 people dropped-in to the public event on 13 November 2017 and a range of supportive comments were received. Access and the effect on parking on Main Street were the mains issues raised and the developer has acknowledged that this situation may be exacerbated by the new development. Off-street parking just inside the site boundary has been introduced to provide parking for existing Main Street residents. A number of small changes have been made to the layout of the proposed housing although the number of houses proposed remains the same.
Seven appeals to Scottish Ministers against the refusal of planning permission remain outstanding: (1) for the construction of a wind farm comprising 12 turbines at Pines Burn, south west of Hobkirk (SBC Ref: 17/00010/FUL) (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2069); (2) for the erection of 7 wind turbines on land north-west of Gilston Farm, near Heriot (SBC Ref: 17/00226/FUL) (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2068); (3) for residential development on land to the east of the Edinburgh Road in Peebles (SBC Ref: 17/00015/FUL) (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2067); (4) for the erection of a poultry building at Hutton Hall Barns, Hutton in Berwickshire (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2065); (5) for the erection of a poultry building at Easter Happrew in the Manor Valley, west of Peebles (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2062); (6) a residential development of 38 dwellings at Marchmont Road, Greenlaw in Berwickshire (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2059); and (7) a proposed windfarm of 8 turbines at Howpark, Grantshouse, also in Berwickshire (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2060).
Two other appeals have been made to the Scottish Ministers. An appeal against an enforcement notice in respect of the painting of the exterior of 13 St. Ella’s Place, Eyemouth, a listed building within the Eyemouth Conservation area, was submitted on 9 January 2018 (ENA-140-2011). An appeal against an amenity notice in respect of the erection of scaffolding and metal panel fence on land at Kirkburn, near Peebles was submitted on 19 January 2018 (DPEA Ref: ANA-140-2000). Both appeals will be dealt with by way of written representations and a site visit by a Reporter from the Scottish Government’s Planning and Environmental Appeals Division.
Three wind farm applications submitted to the Scottish Government under Section 36 of the 1989 Act, to which the Scottish Borders Council has objected, remain outstanding: (1) the application for a 12 turbine extension to the existing Fallago Rig wind farm in the Lammermuir Hills; (2) the application to extend the operational life of the existing Fallago Rig wind farm to coincide with that of the extension (if approved) (DPEA case references WIN-140-5 & WIN-140-6); and (3) an application for the erection of 15 wind turbines on land at Birneyknowe, near Bonchester Bridge, south-east of Hawick (DPEA case reference WIN-140-7). In relation to the Fallago Rig applications, the inquiry and hearing sessions were held in August 2017. In December 2017, the Scottish Government published the Scottish Energy Strategy and its Onshore Wind Policy Statement and the Reporter has offered the parties involved an opportunity to submit observations on the implications which may arise from these documents for the determination of the applications. I relation to the Birneyknowe application (WIN-140-7), inquiry and hearing sessions are scheduled for the week beginning 5 March 2018. These will be held at Minto Golf Club, commencing at 10.00am on Monday 5 March [Delayed until Wednesday 7 March (provisional date) due to adverse weather conditions – heavy snowfall!!].