Development Management: May/June 2021 Update

In May and June, a total of some 285 applications for planning permission and other consents, including listed building and conservation area consents and applications for works to protected trees, were received.  The vast majority related to the erection of single dwellinghouses and alterations and extensions to dwellinghouses, and works to trees. 

The Proposal of Application Notice has now been submitted for the Galashiels Community Campus, including replacement secondary school, community swimming pool and sports facilities (SBC Ref: 21/00850/PAN).  A virtual public exhibition of the proposals will be held online at www.scotborders.gov.uk/galacampus from Thursday 8 July until Thursday 19 August and an unstaffed physical public exhibition will be held at the Galashiels Transport Interchange from Friday 9 July until Thursday 19 august.  Live and interactive online consultation sessions will take place on 28 July between 6.00pm and 9.00pm and on 4 August between 2.00pm and 5.00pm.  To obtain an invitation to either of these events you must register your interest at galacampus@scotborders.gov.uk. See the local press for more details!!

A Proposal of Application Notice has also been submitted for the Peebles Community Campus, (SBC Ref: 21/01034/PAN).  Few details of the proposed public consultation are revealed in the PAN other than the fact that the formal online public event will take place on the week commencing 19 July and be advertised in the Peeblesshire News and Border Telegraph at least 7 days before the event.

A proposal that has also hit the headlines is the application for a grain distillery at the Charlesfield Industrial Estate, near St. Boswells (SBC Ref: 21/00851/FUL).  The facility would use high-quality local cereals and produce 20m litres of alcohol a year for use in blended whisky, gin and vodka.  The £46m project would create 200 construction jobs and 20 permanent jobs. 

Perhaps the most exciting proposal [and topical] is the proposal by Wemyss and March Estates to restore 174ha of blanket bog on two hill sheep farms, Chapelhope and Winterhope, at the top of the Megget and Yarrow Valleys (SBC Ref: 21/00876/PN).  The work will enhance this important area of blanket bog and result in additional carbon capture. A project that is very welcome.

At the other end of the spectrum, in Berwickshire, a request has been made for a Scoping Opinion as to the level of detail required by the planning authority in the proposed Environmental Statement to be submitted in relation to a proposal for mineral extraction over 82ha of land at Lemington Farm, 3km north of Reston (SBC Ref: 21/01083/SCO).  It is proposed to extract 300,000 tonnes of Greywacke per year for an initial period of 20 years, after which the land would be restored to agriculture.

Meanwhile, in Peeblesshire, the Saga of the use of the property Green Loaning on the Loan in West Linton continues, with the submission of an application for a certificate of lawfulness for the use of the property for holiday letting (SBC Ref: 21/00958/CLPU).  The use of the property as a party venue has caused untold annoyance and disquiet to nearby residents for many years.  When will this end or is ‘planning enforcement’ to be found to be a blunt instrument!

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.

The number of applications determined by the Chief Planning and Housing Officer under delegated powers in May and June, at 242 decisions, is again below the number of applications received.  The backlog continues to grow as a result of COVID-19 restrictions. 

Out of almost 250 decisions, perhaps mention should be made of the decision by the Chief Planning Officer to grant planning permission for the siting of 7 static caravans at the Mosspaul Hotel on the A7 close to the border with Dumfries and Galloway.  This historic Inn, a destination for Hawick Common Riding in ‘normal’ times, has had a chequered history in recent years.  Pre-pandemic it had been rented out as a party venue, popular with hen and stag parties, much to the chagrin of the close neighbours.  Colourful descriptions have been voiced of naked gentlemen playing football on the A7 at dead of night!  Planning permission has now been granted for the siting of second-hand caravans on adjoining land, ostensibly for genuine holidaymakers, subject to a number of conditions in relation to the layout and siting of the caravans, the carrying out of a tree survey, the submission of details of the external materials and colour of the caravans, the submission of a detailed landscaping plan, the means of water supply, surface and foul drainage, and the external lighting of the site.  All these details are to be submitted and agreed before the development commences [I did notice said caravans, obtained from another site, scattered about the grounds of the Mosspaul Hotel the last time I passed the location last week!] The occupation of the caravans should be restricted to ‘genuine holidaymakers’ and for individual periods not exceeding four weeks in total within any consecutive period of 13 weeks and a register of holidaymakers is to be kept for inspection by an authorised officer of the council.  I wonder if the council are to employ an officer to specifically ensure that all these conditions are complied with.  Seems like a monumental task to me [it’s a long way from Newtown].  As I have indicated before, planning conditions require to be enforceable so it will be interesting to see if this is achieved here.

Twelve applications were refused by the Chief Planning and Housing Officer under delegated powers in May/June: four related to the erection of dwellinghouses; one related to the extension of a dwellinghouse; two related to replacement windows in dwellinghouses; two related to the installation of signage on a listed building in Kelso; one related to the change of use of office space within Cavalry Park business park to a day centre for the elderly; one related to the change of use of commercial units on Northgate, Peebles into two flats; and one related to the erection of an agricultural machinery dealership premises at Charlesfield Road, St. Boswells.  Appeals to the Local Review Board can be expected!

During the past two months, there has been little activity in terms of meetings of the Planning and Building Standards Committee and the Local Review Board.  On 31 May, the Planning and Building Standards Committee considered one application and granted planning permission for the erection of 2 glamping pods on land at Drummonds Hall, Lauder (SBC Ref: 20/01024/FUL).  On 28th June, the Planning and Building Standards Committee granted planning permission for eight holiday lodges within woodland at Thirlestane Castle, Lauder (SBC Ref: 20/01355/FUL).

On 17 May, the Local Review Body (LRB) considered one application for a review of the decision by the Chief Planning Officer to refuse planning permission for the erection of a boundary fence at 1 Raeburn Lane, Selkirk (SC Ref: 20/01234/FUL).  The LRB, on the casting vote of the Chairman, decided to uphold the decision of the Chief Planning Officer and refused planning permission.  On 14 June, the LRB overturned the decision of the Chief Planning Officer to refuse planning permission for replacement windows at the premises of the Hawick Angling Club at 5 Sandbed, Hawick and granted planning permission subject to conditions (SBC Ref: 20/01236/FUL).  At the same meeting, the LRB upheld the Chief Planning Officers decision to refuse planning permission for the erection of a dwellinghouse on land at The Bungalow, Edington, Chirnside, Berwickshire (SBC Ref: 21/00045/FUL).

Two new appeals have been submitted to Scottish Ministers: (i) against an enforcement notice alleging the use of open amenity land as garden ground and the erection thereon of two sheds and a boundary fence, at 1 Broad Street, Eyemouth (DPEA Ref: ENA-140-2016); and (ii) against the refusal of advertisement consent for Bill Board signage at the Lidl store in Hawick (DPEA Ref: ADA-140-2000).

In relation to existing appeals to Scottish Ministers, decisions on two appeals have been received: on 18 May, the appeal against the non-determination of a planning application for the erection of 22 dwellinghouses on land east of Edinburgh Road, Peebles was dismissed and planning permission refused (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2088); and on 10 June, the appeal against the refusal of planning permission for the erection of 2 dwellinghouses at 8 Ballantyne Place, Peebles was also dismissed and planning permission refused (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2087.  In relation to the compulsory purchase order for 2 High Street/12 Market Place, Jedburgh, a report on the [virtual] public local inquiry held on 5 May 2021 has been submitted to Scottish Ministers and a decision is awaited (DPEA Ref: CPO-SBD-011).  A decision is also awaited on the application under Section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 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).