During April 2018, the Scottish Borders Council received 153 applications for planning permission and other consents, including listed building and conservation area consents and applications for works to protected trees. The following applications are of particular interest:
- Redevelopment of part of the former Peter Scott Complex on Buccleuch Street, Hawick to form ten apartments for the over 55s (SBC Ref: 18/00498/FUL);
- Proposed holiday park on land north west of Willowdean House, Foulden in Berwickshire (SBC Ref: 18/00473/SCR);
- Erection of anemometer mast up to 90m high at Brockhouse Farmhouse, Fountainhall (SBC Ref: 18/00469/FUL);
- Change of use of the former bar/restaurant at 95 High Street, Galashiels to office accommodation and light industrial workshop (SBC Ref: 18/00464/FUL);
- Change of use of Netherbyres House at Eyemouth from a care home to a wedding venue (SBC Ref: 18/00455/FUL); and
- The partial demolition of the former gate lodge and re-positioning of gate piers at West Lodge, Faldonside, near Galashiels (SBC Ref: 18/00357/LBC).
The Council has also been consulted on a proposal to construct and operate an offshore windfarm comprising a maximum of 54 turbines with a maximum blade tip height of 208m in the Firth of Forth approximately 15.5 kilometres east of Fife Ness (the Neart Na Gaoithe Wind Farm) (SBC Ref: 18/00375/S36). Check out the council’s Public Access Portal if you want to find out more about the above applications or any other application submitted in the past month.
During April 2018, the council decided 123 applications, only four of which were refused planning permission under delegated powers to the Chief Planning Officer; for the erection of a dwellinghouse on Smith’s Road, Darnick, Melrose; for the erection of a dwellinghouse at Langton Birches to the south of Duns in Berwickshire; for the part change of use of a shop to a flat at 14 North Bridge, Hawick; and for the change of use of an office to two flats on Dovecote Road Industrial Estate in Peebles. Of those applications that were successful, perhaps the most interesting is the proposed 20 bedroom hotel at North Slipperfield, near West Linton, on the edge of the Pentland Hills, granted planning permission on 5 April (SBC Ref: 16/01526/FUL). This proposal supersedes a planning permission for a “shooting lodge”, which included a number of guest bedrooms, leisure facilities and treatment rooms, granted in September 2008, with a varied permission in August 2013, which expired in August 2016. The principal of a hotel was, therefore, established and, although sited within the Pentland Hills Special Landscape Area, the Chief Planning Officer considered that the design of the proposed hotel was appropriate to its rural location. Visit Scotland supported the tourism element of the proposed development and the local community council had no objections.
At its meeting on 16 April, the Council’s Local Review Body (LRB) was faced with three housing in the countryside proposals refused planning permission by the Chief Planning Officer under delegated powers. The LRB overturned the officer’s decision in two cases but upheld the officer’s decision in the third case. Consequently, planning permission was granted for a dwellinghouse on a site on the edge of Ednam village, near Kelso and on a site at Kailzie Mains, near Peebles. In the first case, the LRB considered that the proposal represented a logical extension to the settlement of Ednam (SBC Ref: 17/01613/PPP & 18/00004/RREF). In the second case, the LRB considered that the proposal constituted a well-related addition to a building group with a sense of place (SBC Ref: 17/01572/PPP & 18/00006/RREF).
Planning permission was refused, however, for the erection of a dwellinghouse in woodland at Peelburnfoot in the Tweed Valley near Clovenfords (SBC Ref: 17/01008/FUL & 17/00053/RREF). This particularly controversial case, which had attracted a lot of attention locally, raised a number of questions about the introduction of new evidence in the review of a determination by an appointed officer of the council. Section 43B of the 1997 Planning (Scotland) Act states that a party to the review proceedings (the applicant, the council and third parties) is not to raise any matter which was not before the appointed person at the time the determination was made unless that party can demonstrate that the matter could not have been raised before or there are exceptional circumstances. In this case, the applicant took the liberty of submitting further material relating to a number of issues, which the LRB decided was new evidence that did not meet the tests in Section 43B of the 1997 Planning (Scotland) Act.
Although the proposed development was described by the applicant as “Erection of replacement dwellinghouse” and the site was described as “Derelict dwelling”, members concluded, on the basis of the contrary evidence provided by objectors, that there was no evidence that the existing building (a derelict kennels) had been a dwellinghouse and that any incidental residence associated with the use of the building as kennels had not been proven. The LRB concluded that the proposal did not comprise a replacement dwelling, nor the restoration of an existing former dwelling. They also concluded that the proposal did not constitute the conversion of an existing building as the application was for demolition; that the proposal was not well related to an established building group and that there was no business case for a house to manage the woodland within which it was sited. Accordingly, the proposal did not comply with the relevant sections of housing policy HD2 of the local development plan. Although new evidence on the number of trees that required to be felled as a result of the proposed development was considered, the LRB accepted the advice of the council’s Planning and Landscape Officers that it was likely more trees would be adversely impacted by the construction and occupation of the dwellinghouse than those identified on the revised plan. They considered that the impact on trees within a woodland that was subject to a Tree Preservation Order would be unacceptable.
The LRB also upheld the Chief Planning Officer’s decision to refuse planning permission for an extension to a house on Craig Brown Road in Selkirk on the grounds that it amounted to overdevelopment of the site (SBC Ref: 17/01409/FUL & 18/00005/RREF). The LRB, however, overturned the Chief Planning Officer’s decision to refuse planning permission for the change of use of shop on Bank Street, Galashiels to a dog grooming practice (SBC Ref: 17/01704/FUL & 18/00007/RREF). In so doing, the members of the LRB were particularly influenced by the specific nature of the proposal and considered that the proposed use would make a positive contribution to the diversity of uses along Bank Street.
On 30 April, the Council’s Planning and Building Standards Committee approved a number of applications, including; (i) Changes to the layout and refurbishment of lodges at Whithaugh Park Holiday Centre at Newcastleton (SBC Ref: 17/01740/FUL); and (ii) the erection of an 80 metres high anemometer mast at Braidlie in the Hermitage Valley, south of Hawick (SBC Ref: 18/253/FUL). Although the purpose of the proposed mast is to establish the wind characteristics of the area to determine the wind resources for a prospective wind energy development, granting planning permission for such a mast does not commit the planning authority to accepting any subsequent wind energy proposal. Any such proposal requires to be considered on its own merits against the requirements of the local development plan and any other material considerations.
During April, the Scottish Government’s Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) issued two determinations. The appeal against an amenity notice in respect of the erection of scaffolding and metal panel fence on land at Kirkburn Church, near Peebles was dismissed on 11 April (DPEA Ref: ANA-140-2000). The appeal against the refusal of planning permission for a windfarm of 8 turbines at Howpark, Grantshouse in Berwickshire was upheld on 23 April and planning permission was granted subject to 31 conditions (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2060). The Reporter found that although a number of those persons that made representations drew attention to the council’s view that the landscape of the area had reached capacity in terms of the number of turbines that could be accommodated, this did not prevent the proposal being considered on its merits and, considered on its merits, the Reporter considered that the proposal accords with the relevant provisions of the development plan and that there were no material considerations that would justify a refusal of planning permission.
Seven appeals remain to be determined against the refusal of planning permission; (1) for the demolition of existing buildings and the erection of four dwellings at Elders Yard in Newtown St. Boswells (SBC Ref: 17/01342/PPP; (2) 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); (3) 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); (4) residential development on land to the east of the Edinburgh Road in Peebles (SBC Ref: 17/00015/FUL) (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2067); (5) for the erection of a poultry building at Hutton Hall Barns, Hutton in Berwickshire (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2065); (6) for the erection of a poultry building at Easter Happrew in the Manor Valley, west of Peebles (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2062); and (7) a residential development of 38 dwellings at Marchmont Road, Greenlaw in Berwickshire (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2059).
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).