Development Management: October 2019 Update

During October 2019, the Scottish Borders Council received some 116 applications for planning permission and other consents, including listed building and conservation area consents and applications for works to protected trees.  The vast majority related to the erection of single dwellinghouses and alterations and extensions to dwellinghouses.  Large scale developments are few and far between at the moment, a reflection of the general malaise in the building industry.

However, in Galashiels, a major housing development at Beech Avenue in Easter Langlee comprises the demolition of a number of the flatted properties built in the 1960s and their replacement by approximately 100 new dwellinghouses by Waverley Housing (SBC Ref: 19/01488/PAN).  A public consultation event in Langlee Primary School is planned for 29 November 2019 between the hours of 1.00pm and 7.00pm.

At the northern extremity of the region, a Scoping Report has been submitted to Scottish Ministers under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 for a revised wind farm proposal, comprising 14 turbines up to 145m high to the blade tip, at Clioch Forest between West Linton and Eddleston in Peeblesshire (SBC Ref: 19/01489/SCO).  The council has until 15 November to respond with comments on the proposed matters to be taken into account in the Environmental Impact Assessment of the proposal.

In Peebles, following the refusal of planning permission for the original scheme by Eildon Housing and the dismissal of the appeal to the Scottish Ministers, a revised scheme has now been submitted for residential development comprising 22 flats at Tweedbridge, Peebles (SBC Ref: 19/01471/FUL).  The local community appears to be more relaxed about this proposal than the original scheme.

In Coldstream, a proposed caravan park to the south of the Health Centre on Kelso Road is causing a great deal of support and objections amongst the local population (SBC Ref:19/01454/FUL).  Blackadder Caravan Park Ltd, which operates a caravan site in Greenlaw with some 175 static pitches is seeking consent for a holiday caravan and camping park comprising 140 pitches for caravans and 20 pitches for camping/glamping.  The applicant has been working with the community for some years to facilitate the community’s vision for the town.  A pre-application consultation in May 2019 generated a great deal of interest and objection.  A public event in June attracted some 100 people.  It will be interesting to see how the Planning and Building Standards Committee deal with this major application bearing in mind the split opinion of the local community.

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 October, some 130 applications were determined by the Chief Planning Officer under delegated powers.  Again, the vast majority related to the erection of single dwellinghouses or to alterations and extensions to dwellinghouses.  A Certificate of Lawful Proposed Use or Development was granted on 4 October for the re-opening of the Caravan Park at Bonchester Bridge (SBC Ref: 19/00952/CLPU).  The caravan site closed in 2003 when plans for a housing development on the site was drawn up but subsequently withdrawn.  Planning permission was granted on 9 October for the use of land adjoining the Border Toyota Garage at St. Boswells as a demonstration/training area for electric and driverless cars (SBC Ref: 19/00945/FUL).  A novel idea which could put the Borders at the forefront of future sustainable travel.

Four applications were refused planning permission by the Chief Planning Officer under delegated powers in October: (i) an application for the erection of a dwellinghouse on land north east of Maxton House, St. Boswells (SBC Ref: 19/01178/PPP); (ii) the installation of replacement windows to the front elevation of Lauder Cottage, Skirling, Peeblesshire (SBC Ref: 19/01160/FUL); (iii) the erection of scaffolding with advertisement hoarding at Kirkburn Church, Peebles (SBC Ref: 19/01050/ADV);  and (iv) the erection of a dwellinghouse at Auburn Cottage, Ashkirk (SBC Ref: 19/01000/PPP).

At its meeting on 7 October, the Planning and Building Standards Committee granted planning permission for the removal of restrictions on Sunday shooting at the Bisley at Braidwood Shooting Range, near Midlem for a temporary period of 9 months despite the concerns of a number of nearby residents (SBC Ref: 19/00932/FUL).  It will be interesting to see if problems arise in relation to the impact of noise from the range during this period and whether, in due course, an application will be submitted to make the Sunday opening hours permanent.  The Committee also granted planning permission for the erection of 13 dwellinghouses on land close to the tennis club on Hillside Terrace (the A7) in Selkirk much to the consternation of nearby residents concerned about the speed of traffic on the A7, even though it is within the 30mph limit, and the safety of the access to the site (SBC Ref: 19/00074/FUL).

The local Review Body on 21 October considered one appeal against the Chief Planning Officer’s decision to refuse planning permission.  The LRB upheld the officer’s decision to refuse planning permission for the detailed design of a proposed dwellinghouse at Dundas Cottage, Hopehouse, Selkirk on the grounds that the development would not relate sympathetically to the character of the surrounding area and the neighbouring built form (SBC Ref: 19/00521/AMC).

In relation to appeals to the Scottish Government, two appeals remain outstanding: (i) the long-standing 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 (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2072); and (ii) the appeal against the erection of 7 wind turbines at Gilston Hill, near Heriot, which has been returned to the Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) to re-determine following a successful challenge to the Court of Session to the Reporter’s decision, dated 7 February 2019, to approve the application (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2068-1).

Two wind farm applications submitted to the Scottish Government under Section 36 of the 1989 Act, to which the Scottish Borders Council has also objected, remain 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).  Following the receipt of objections from Scottish Borders Council in April 2019, an inquiry is to be held in relation on an application for an expansion of the Crystal Rig Wind Farm in the Lammermuirs, comprising the addition of 11 turbines to the existing 90 turbines (DPEA Ref: WIN-140-8).

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.