During March 2019, the Scottish Borders Council received some 150 applications for planning permission and other consents, including listed building and conservation area consents and applications for works to protected trees. Perhaps the most significant application received relates to a proposed leisure development comprising 180 holiday lodges and associated facilities at Rutherford House, near West Linton in Peeblesshire (SBC Ref: 19/00153/FUL). A leisure development comprising 263 holiday lodges, 206 touring caravan pitches, 15 tree houses and 20 glamping pods and including a new leisure/clubhouse facility with swimming pool, gym, Jacuzzi etc. was the subject of a Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) in February 2018 (18/00109/PAN). Following public consultation, including exhibitions in April 2018 attended by almost 200 people, the proposals have been significantly reduced in an attempt to address the issues raised. The number of lodges has been reduced from 263 to 180 and all the other forms of holiday accommodation have been removed. The proposed village centre has been drastically reduced with the loss of facilities such as the bowling alley, cinema and hot food takeaway. The proposed spa facility has been removed and the pub and restaurant provision scaled down. It is early days in the processing of the planning application and it will be interesting to see if the changes made satisfy the concerns of the local community.
Elsewhere, a planning application for the change of house types and variation of the layout of a proposed development of twenty houses on a site at Horsburgh Ford, east of Peebles and close to the Macdonald Cardrona Hotel, was received on 7 March (SBC Ref: 00332/FUL). Planning permission was originally granted in October 2015 (SBC Ref: 14/00666/FUL). In Stow, Stow Community Trust proposes to convert the former station house into a bistro and community facility including a bicycle repair workshop (SBC Ref: 19/00406/FUL). The project has planning approval (SBC Ref: 18/00318/FUL) but the design of the proposed extension has been revised to better reflect the traditional design of the existing building. At Camptown, south of Jedburgh, the owner of the property ‘Glenacre’ is seeking, once again, to obtain a Certificate of Lawfulness for the use of the property as a dwellinghouse (SBC Ref: 19/00339/CLEU). The refusal of a previous application was upheld on appeal to the Scottish Government (DPEA Ref: CLUD-140-2002) and it will be interesting to see if this attempt is successful.
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 March, some 140 planning applications were determined by the Chief Planning Officer under delegated powers. Only three applications were refused planning permission: two applications for the erection of dwellinghouses on plots A & B on land south of ‘The Granary’ at Blyth Bridge in Peeblesshire (SBC Refs: 19/00023/PPP & 19/00025/PPP), and an application for the erection of a dwellinghouse at Cowdenknowes, near Earlston (SBC Ref: 18/00599/FUL). The Chief Planning Officer considered that none of the proposed dwellinghouses complied with the council’s housing in the countryside policy. There have been differences of opinion, in the past, between the Chief Planning Officer and the Planning and Building Standards Committee on how this policy should be interpreted and it is to be seen whether these decisions will be tested by appeal to the council’s Local Review Body.
On 4 March, the Planning and Building Standards Committee made three somewhat controversial decisions. Planning permission was granted, against the wishes of many people in Peebles, for the erection of 71 dwellinghouses on land south of South Parks Industrial Estate (SBC Ref: 18/01026/FUL). Although the site is allocated for housing in the adopted local development plan, the number of houses proposed exceeds the indicative capacity shown in the plan. As well as concerns about the effect on residential amenity, perhaps the principal concern amongst the local population was the impact of traffic generated by the development on the road system, particularly Caledonian Road. These concerns raise wider issues regarding the capacity of the existing Tweed Bridge and the mini-roundabout at the end of High Street to cope with the traffic generated by continued housing development south of the River Tweed. Further housing development south of the Tweed and the provision of a second river crossing are matters raised in the Main Issues Report in connection with the review of the local development plan. However, it will be the end of this year (2019) before the new local development plan (LDP2) is completed. Many people in the local community question the desirability of allowing further development south of the river until these matters are resolved.
On the 4 March, the Planning and Building Standards Committee also granted planning permission for the erection of four dwellinghouses on the site of existing garages at Heriotfield, Oxton, near Lauder much to the ire of local residents who objected to the loss of the garages and to the impact of the new houses on their privacy and amenity (SBC Ref: 18/00910/FUL). The third decision of the Committee related to proposed storage and distribution buildings, and ancillary dwellinghouse, for Border Mix Ltd on land near the Old Creamery, Dolphinton, near Biggar (SBC Ref: 18/01377/FUL). Planning permission was refused, for a second time, on the grounds that it had not been demonstrated that there were any over-riding economic and/or operational reasons for the siting of this proposed development in the countryside. The previous refusal of planning permission, in August 2017, was the subject of an appeal to the Scottish Government but, in January 2018, the appeal was dismissed (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2063). The intention of the applicant is to relocate the business from its present location within Dolphinton village and the applicant hoped that the additional information provided would show that all other possibilities have been exhausted. However, the Committee considered that alternative sites had not been thoroughly investigated. It will be interesting to see what the applicant does next: another appeal or another site?
At its meeting on 25 March, the Planning and Building Standards Committee approved a three years extension to the commencement time period of planning consent 09/01043/FUL, which relates to alterations to Gattonside House, near Melrose, to form 15 flats and the erection of 44 dwellinghouses and flats and a village shop in the grounds. At the same meeting, the Committee granted planning and listed building consent for two alternative schemes of internal and external alterations to Castle Venlaw Hotel in Peebles to form 11 flats, subject to clearance from Scottish Ministers.
On 18 March, the Local Review Body (LRB) reversed the decision of the Chief Planning Officer to refuse planning permission for an extension to the storage units at Farknowes, Langshaw Road, Galashiels to provide an additional 7 workshop units and 1 unit to provide a dog day care facility and a dog exercise area (SBC Ref: 18/00040/RREF). The LRB also reversed the decision of the Chief Planning Officer to refuse planning permission for the change of use of Redburn Garage, Peebles Road, Galashiels to a joiner’s workshop and showroom, caravan repairs and sales, car valet, retail and siting of catering unit (SBC Ref: 19/00004/RREF). Although the business, which was in operation, comprised five different uses, the LRB considered that there was little significant difference between the previous use of the site and the proposed uses. The LRB also reversed the decision of the Chief Planning Officer to refuse planning permission for the change of use of the Mansfield Bar in Hawick into a residential flat (SBC Ref: 19/00002/RREF) and his decision to refuse planning permission for replacement windows to the property ‘Sunnybrae’ in Midlem (SBC Ref: 19/00003/RREF). Not a very successful meeting for the Chief Planning Officer!
In relation to appeals to the Scottish Government, an appeal against the refusal of listed building consent for the installation of replacement windows in ‘The Honey House’, Longformacus in Berwickshire, was submitted on 28 February (DPEA Ref: LBA-140-2005). The Honey House is a category C listed building, forming part of a row of cottages, many of which are also listed. The proposed uPVC replacement windows would copy the glazing pattern and method of opening of the current traditional timber sash and case windows. However, the Chief Planning Officer considered that the existing windows, which are on the principal elevation of the property, appeared to be in a reasonable state and could be repaired and the proposal would introduce an inferior product. Listed building consent was refused on 22 January 2019 (SBC Ref: 18/01627/LBC).
Four other appeals remain outstanding: (1) the appeal against the serving of an Enforcement Notice alleging the use of the property ‘Greenloaning’ on The Loan, West Linton for short stay visitor accommodation (SBC Ref: 18/00074/UNUSE; DPEA Ref: ENA-140-2013); (2) & (3) the appeals against the non-determination of the planning applications for the redevelopment of the March Street Mills site in Peebles for residential units (SBC Ref: 17/00063/PPP & 17/00064/CON); and (4) the appeal against the refusal of planning permission for the construction of a wind farm comprising 7 turbines up to 132 metres high to tip height on land at Barrel Law, north west of Roberton (SBC Ref: 17/01255/FUL) (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2072).
Two wind farm applications submitted to the Scottish Government under Section 36 of the 1989 Act, to which the Scottish Borders Council has objected, remained outstanding: (1) the application for a 12 turbine extension to the existing Fallago Rig wind farm in the Lammermuir Hills; and (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). The reports on these appeals have been with Scottish Ministers since July last year (2018).