Update on Draft Housing Supplementary Guidance (SG)

The Scottish Borders Local Development Plan (LDP) was adopted in May 2016.  However, the Reporters from the Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals, who carried out the examination of the LDP concluded that there was a shortfall in housing land and that the Council should prepare and submit to Scottish Ministers, within 12 months of adoption of the LDP, Supplementary Guidance (SG) identifying additional sites to provide for a further 916 housing units. Following the production of a Draft Housing SG in December 2016, which has been the subject of public consultation, the Council has now approved the Supplementary Guidance on Housing for submission to the Scottish Ministers.

The Housing SG, approved by Scottish Borders Council on 24 August 2017, proposes the inclusion of the following sites, comprising 926 housing units, within the adopted LDP:

Berwickshire Housing Market Area

  • Land north of High Street, Ayton (6 units)
  • Hillview North (Phase 1), Coldstream (100 units)
  • Reston Long Term 2, Reston (38 units)

Central Housing Market Area

  • Lintburn Street, Galashiels (8 units)
  • Rose Court, Galashiels (12 units)
  • Former Castle Warehouse Site, Galashiels (30 units)
  • Leishman Place, Hawick (5 units)
  • Henderson Road, Hawick (6 units)
  • Factory – Fairhurst Drive, Hawick (10 units)
  • Tweed Court, Kelso (15 units)
  • Nethershot (Phase 2), Kelso (100 units)
  • Former High School Site, Kelso (50 units)
  • The Orchard, Newstead (6 units)
  • Angles Field, Selkirk (30 units)
  • Heather Mill, Selkirk (75 units)
  • Lowood, Tweedbank (300 units)

Northern Housing Market area

  • Caerlee Mill, Innerleithen (35 units)
  • Rosetta Road Mixed Use, Peebles (30 units)
  • March Street Mill, Peebles (70 units)

Once the Supplementary Guidance has been agreed by the Scottish Ministers, it will form part of the adopted LDP 2016.


Development Management: Overview

In the Scottish Borders the determination of applications for planning permission in respect of large scale developments, such as a housing development comprising 50 or more dwellings or where the development site exceeds 2 hectares, and which is significantly contrary to the local development plan, is a matter for the Council as a whole to consider.  The Planning and Building Standards Committee is responsible for deciding all other applications for planning permission but has delegated the determination of most applications to the Service Director Regulatory Services (Chief Planning Officer, Ian Aikman).  The Service Director is authorised to determine applications for planning permission for development, other than large scale developments, and any other application for consent, agreement or approval required by a condition imposed on a planning permission for a development, other than a large scale development, except where:

  • it is proposed to approve the application and the proposal is significantly contrary to the Development Plan;
  • it is proposed to approve the application and there are at least five letters of representation from separate households that raise material planning comments;
  • it is proposed to approve the application and there is a formal objection from a statutory consultee;
  • the Planning and Building Standards Committee decides to deal with the application itself; or
  • the application is submitted by an elected Member of the Council.

The Planning and Building Standards Committee consists of nine members, under the chairmanship of Councillor Tom Miers, member for Leaderdale and Melrose.  The Committee meets twelve times a year to consider those applications for planning permission that have not been delegated to the Service Director for determination.  In 2016/2017, the council decided 635 planning applications and granted 177 other consents, including 91 listed building and conservation area consents and 30 advertisement consents; 95% of all applications were approved (the Scottish average was 94.2%).

In 2016/2017, the Planning and Building Standards Committee considered 37 applications for planning permission.  Two appeals to Scottish Ministers, against the refusal of planning permission by the Committee, were decided by Reporters appointed by Scottish Ministers (one was upheld and one was dismissed).  96.9% of all applications were delegated to the Service Director (Chief Planning Officer) for decision (the Scottish average was 95.3%).  Twenty-nine of these decisions were appealed and went to the Local Review Body for a review of the decision.  The Local Review Body, which is comprised of the nine members of the Planning and Building Standards Committee and is chaired by the chairman of that committee, conducts reviews of applications for planning permission that have been refused, granted subject to conditions or not determined within the prescribed period (usually 2 months) by the Service Director, i.e. the Chief Planning Officer.  In 2016/2017, the Local Review Body, which also met twelve times, overturned 16 of the original 29 decisions by the Service Director; only 44.8% of the original decisions were upheld.

Notable refusals of planning permission by the Planning and Building Standards Committee in 2017 include a residential development of 38 dwellings on Marchmont Road, Greenlaw, Berwickshire; a proposed windfarm of eight turbines at Howpark, Grantshouse, Berwickshire (contrary to the officer’s recommendation); and the Council’s own proposed waste transfer station at Easter Langlee, Galashiels (also refused contrary to the officer’s recommendation).  The refusal of planning permissions for the residential development at Marchmont Road, Greenlaw and the proposed wind farm development at Howpark, Grantshouse are the subject of appeals to the Scottish Ministers.

The proposal for a waste transfer station at Easter Langlee, Galashiels, refused planning permission in April on the grounds that the Langshaw Road (C77) is inadequate for the additional traffic likely to be generated by the proposal, is now the subject of an amended application submitted on 17 August 2017.  According to the Transport Statement, which accompanies the application, a review of improvement options for the Langshaw Road has been carried out and a series of measures have been identified, which it is hoped will satisfy the Planning and Building Standards Committee.  We shall have to wait and see!

Follow this website to see how applications for planning permission are dealt with in 2017/2018.  There will be a monthly report on planning applications received by the Scottish Borders Council, and decisions made, together with updates on appeals to the Scottish Ministers.

Position Statement on Development Plan

Scottish Borders Council’s development plan sets out the council’s vision for development and transportation within the Scottish Borders.  The development plan currently consists of the Scottish Borders Local Development Plan (LDP), adopted in May 2016, commonly referred to as the Local Plan, and the Strategic Development Plan produced by SESplan, a partnership of the six local authorities in the south east of Scotland; Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian, Fife, Scottish Borders and West Lothian, which was approved by Scottish Ministers in June 2013.

The Scottish Government Reporters who examined the Local Development Plan in 2015 proposed modifications that require an additional 916 housing units to be identified through supplementary guidance (SG).  As a result, the council published a Draft Housing SG for consultation in December 2016. The period for consultation has now closed and its officers are working through responses.

Scottish Borders Council (SBC) is currently preparing a new Local Development Plan to replace the current LDP to guide future development within the Scottish Borders for the period 2021-2026.  SBC is at the very early stages of this process and is gathering evidence to produce the first document called the ‘Main Issues Report’ (MIR), which will focus on the key areas of change from the current LDP and will present a range of options for change.  A Call for Sites as part of the preparation of the MIR invites land owners, developers and agents to submit proposed development sites for consideration.  The period for submitting site proposals expired on 7 August 2017.  Once prepared, the MIR will be the subject of wide consultation before the council reaches a view on the way forward and prepares its Proposed Local Development Plan 2.

SESplan’s second Proposed Strategic Development Plan was submitted to Scottish Ministers in June 2017.  Outstanding issues raised through representations during consultation in October and November 2016 will be the subject of examination by a Reporter appointed by Scottish Ministers some time later this year.

Keep checking this website for updates on the council’s progress on the Draft Housing SG and the new Local Development Plan and on the progress of the second Proposed Strategic Development Plan.  Interesting times ahead!