Development Management: February 2019 update

During February 2019, the Scottish Borders Council received some 118 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 the proposed redevelopment of the auction mart at Newtown St. Boswells (SBC Ref: 19/00210/PPP).  A Proposal of Application Notice (SBC Ref: 18/00144/PAN) for a large scale mixed use development, comprising retail, office, business/light industrial, hotel, residential and non-residential institution, housing and leisure use, together with a new access from the A68 and car parking, on the auction mart site was received on 9 February 2018.  As part of the pre-application process, a public consultation event was held on 12 March 2018.  The application for planning permission in principle provides some details of the proposed development, including a proposed master plan, which includes a new auction mart, up to 130 houses of mixed tenures, over 7,000sqm of retail accommodation and up to 8,000sqm of business and industrial development, all served by a new roundabout junction with the A68.  The master plan also accommodates the future extension of the Waverley Railway and the provision of a station at Newtown.  Newtown St. Boswells was identified as a centre for growth as far back as the 1960s and this proposal, together with sites identified in the local development plan and supplementary planning guidance, would certainly go a long way to creating a rural hub at this location with accessible housing, business and industry, retail, leisure and tourism developments.

In Kelso, M & J Ballantyne have applied for planning permission for the erection of 49 affordable homes at Angraflat Road, Kelso (SBC Ref: 19/00185/FUL).  This would be the first phase of a development of a total of 120 dwellings on the site between Queens House Nursing Home and the new Kelso High School.  The site is identified for housing in the adopted local development plan.  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 February, some 125 planning applications have been determined by the Chief Planning Officer under delegated powers.  Planning permission in principle has been granted for the erection of 120 dwellinghouses on land north and east of Hendersyde North Lodge at Kelso in line with the indicative capacity set out in the adopted local development plan (SBC Ref: 13/00259/PPP).  In Stow, planning permission has been granted for the erection of six dwellinghouses on a site incorporating land on either side of Lauder Road (SBC Ref: 0016/01461/PPP).  Planning permission was first granted for this development in December 2010 subject to a Section 75 legal agreement.  The subsequent planning consent, issued in December 2013, expired in December 2016.  Only one planning application was refused by the Chief Planning Officer: an application for the erection of two dwellinghouses at Cowdenburn Cottages, West Linton (SBC Ref: 18/01469/PPP).  The Chief Planning Officer considered that the proposal would be contrary to the council’s new housing in the countryside policy in that it would not relate sympathetically to the character of the existing building group and would cause the loss or serious damage to high amenity value trees.

On 4 February, the Planning and Building Standards Committee controversially refused planning permission, against the advice of the Chief Planning Officer, for two major housing schemes proposed by Eildon Housing Association.  Both had caused consternation in the respective local communities and the refusals were welcomed by them.  However, the chief executive of Eildon Housing Association called the decisions into question and threatened to lodge appeals to the Scottish Government [to date no such appeals have been received by the Scottish Government’s Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA)].  The applications relate to the erection of 69 dwellings at Coopersknowe Crescent, Galashiels (SBC Ref: 18/01417/FUL) and the erection of two blocks of residential flats, comprising 40 units, at Tweedbridge Court, Peebles (SBC Ref: 18/01086/FUL).  The committee considered that the increase in the number of dwellings proposed at Coopersknowe was unacceptable on the grounds that it would lead to over-development of the site and would create a significant adverse impact on the Langshaw Road, which adjoins the site and from which access would be taken.  In relation to the Tweedbridge Court proposal, which is sited on the banks of the river Tweed close to the town centre, this had aroused considerable objections from the Peebles community largely on the grounds of its visual impact.  The committee agreed that the proposed scale, mass, height and design of the proposed development was inappropriate to the character of its surroundings.  It remains to be seen as to whether Eildon Housing will submit appeals to the Scottish Government or whether amendments are made to these proposals to better respect the wishes of the local communities and the council’s Planning and Building Standards Committee.

On 18 February, the Local Review Body (LRB) reversed the decision of the Chief Planning Officer to refuse planning permission for an extension to 10 Townhead Way, Newstead, near Melrose (SBC Ref: 18/01215/FUL).  The LRB considered that the proposal would have minimum impact on the privacy and amenity of the neighbouring property and agreed to grant planning permission.  In respect of the request to review the refusal of a planning application for the erection of a dwellinghouse on land at Chapel Cottage, Melrose, the LRB, by 5 votes to 2 votes decided to refuse the application on the grounds that the design of the proposed dwellinghouse was not in keeping with the character of the surrounding countryside (SBC Ref: 18/00956/FUL).

As previously indicated, appeals have been submitted to the Scottish Government’s Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) in relation to 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).  The Reporter appointed to determine these appeals carried out an accompanied inspection of the site and surrounding area on Tuesday 5 February 2019 at 2.00pm.  A decision on the appeals is awaited.

The appeal against the refusal of Tree Works Consent for the removal of a mature copper beech tree at 22 Craigmyle Park, Clovenfords, near Galashiels has been upheld and consent granted for the removal of the copper beech (SBC Ref: 18/01057/TPO) (DPEA Ref: TWCA-140-2).  Although the Reporter considered that the tree was a fine specimen, of high amenity value and contributing to the attractive landscape of the Craigmyle Estate, and that national policy contains a strong presumption in favour of retaining the tree, he considered that the householders concerns relating to damage to the property or injury outweighed these considerations.  He was not convinced that the householders concerns would be satisfactorily addressed by reducing the crown diameter or simply removing the limb closest to the house.

The appeal in relation to the serving of an Amenity Notice for the removal of two shed structures, a van and various items from land west of Gallowberry Bank, Blyth Bridge, near West Linton in Peeblesshire has been terminated following the withdrawal of the enforcement notice by the council (SBC Ref: 15/00045/UNDEV; DPEA Ref: ANAA-140-2001).  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 remains outstanding (SBC Ref: 18/00074/UNUSE; DPEA Ref: ENA-140-2013).  The Reporter in this case has requested further information from the appellant, to be provided by 12 March.

The appeal against the refusal of planning permission for the erection of 7 wind turbines on land north-west of Gilston Farm, near Heriot was upheld on 7 February and planning permission granted (SBC Ref: 17/00226/FUL) (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2068).  In deciding to allow the appeal, the Reporter was not convinced that the combined impact of the proposed windfarm, in association with the existing Dun Law windfarm, would be unacceptable.  He acknowledged that any windfarm development, by virtue of the height of the turbines, would have significant adverse impacts when seen close up but pointed out that the reasons for refusal in this case refer to the proposed windfarm only being unacceptable in the context of cumulative landscape and visual impacts.  He was also of the view, to the consternation of the affected community councils, that there was no justification for the refusal of planning permission on noise grounds.  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 remains outstanding (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).

 

Development Management: New Year 2019

During the calendar year 2018, the Scottish Borders Council received and determined almost 1600 applications for planning permission and other consents, including listed building and conservation area consents (146) and applications for works to trees (76).  Of these applications, only some 58 were refused consent (3.6%), which is a much lower percentage than previous years.  Half of the 56 planning applications refused by the Chief Planning Officer under delegated powers were submitted for review to the Local Review Body (LRB).  During 2018, the LRB considered some 29 refusals of planning permission and decided to reverse the decision of the Chief Planning Officer, and grant planning permission, in 16 cases.  Of the 35 planning applications considered by the Planning and Building Standards Committee, only two were refused:  an application for the erection of 4 dwellinghouses at Elders Yard, Newtown St. Boswells (SBC Ref: 17/01342/PPP); and a wind farm at Barrel Law, Selkirk (SBC Ref: 17/01255/FUL).  Both refusals were the subject of appeals to Scottish Ministers; the former appeal was allowed and planning permission granted for the erection of the dwellinghouses, the latter appeal remains to be determined.

During 2018, a total of 12 appeals were submitted to the Scottish Government’s Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA); four planning appeals, three enforcement notice appeals, two amenity notice appeals, one conservation area consent appeal, one tree works appeal and one appeal against the refusal to issue a certificate of lawful use.  Of the four planning appeals, two were upheld and planning permission granted (DPEA Refs: PPA-140-2070 & PPA-140-271), and two remain to be determined (PPA-140-2072 & PPA-140-2074). Two of the three enforcement notice appeals were dismissed (ENA-140-2011 & ENA-140-2012), one remains to be determined (ENA-140-2013).  One amenity notice appeal was dismissed (ANA-140-2000) and the other remains to be determined (ANA-140-2001).  The appeal against the refusal to issue of a certificate of lawful use was dismissed (CLUD-140-2002); the conservation area consent and tree works appeals remain to be determined (CAC-140-2000 & TWCA-140-2).

Planning applications must be determined in accordance with the development plan unless other material considerations suggest otherwise.  In the Scottish Borders, the development plan comprises the approved Strategic Development Plan for South-East Scotland 2013 (SESPlan) and the adopted Scottish Borders Local Development Plan 2016.  The Proposed Strategic Development Plan for South-East Scotland, SESPlan2, was submitted to Scottish Ministers in June 2017.  The Examination of SESPlan2 was completed by Reporters appointed by Scottish Ministers in May 2018 and their report was submitted to Scottish Ministers on 20 July 2018.  The response of the Scottish Ministers is awaited.  The Main Issues Report (MIR) relating to the replacement Scottish Borders Local Development Plan (LDP2) was published in November 2018 and was the subject of wide consultation, including a programme of afternoon drop-in sessions and evening workshops held across the Scottish Borders during November and December 2018.  The public consultation period ended on 31 January 2019 and the council anticipates that the local development plan LDP2 will be submitted to the council for approval in the autumn of 2019, following which the local development plan will be the subject of consultation and examination during 2020.  It is likely to be the Spring of 2021 before LDP2 is adopted and replaces the existing local development plan.

 

Development Management: January 2019 Update

During January 2019, the Scottish Borders Council received over 130 applications for planning permission and other consents, including listed building and conservation area consents and applications for works to protected trees.  A planning application has now been received from Hart Builders on behalf of Eildon Housing Association for the redevelopment of the former Earlston High School site (SBC Ref: 19/00090/FUL).  The proposal involves the construction of 64 affordable homes at an estimated cost of £9.2m, part funded by a £5.2m social housing grant from the Scottish Government.  It comprises a mix of two, three and four bedroom houses.  Following the submission of a Proposal of Application Notice in October last year for residential development, a community engagement event was held in the Church Hall on 4 December 2018, attended by only 19 people.  The biggest concerns related to the potential increase in traffic on the High Street, which can be congested at certain times, and the possible use of the road through the development as a short-cut.  Consequently, the layout has been designed to discourage vehicles travelling through the development as an alternative to the High Street.  Pedestrian routes through the development would provide a safer route from the centre of Earlston to the new High School.

In Selkirk, Rural Renaissance, the contracting arm of J.S. Crawford, Builders, has submitted a planning application for 13 detached houses on a site at Hillside Terrace adjacent to the A7 and adjoining the town’s tennis courts (SBC Ref: 19/00074/FUL).  The site is allocated for residential use in the adopted local development plan.  Concerns have already been raised, however, about the desirability of creating a new access to residential development on this part of the A7.  Nevertheless, Transport Scotland, the Trunk Roads Authority, does not oppose the proposed access if designed and constructed to meet its requirements.  The proposal by Rural Renaissance Ltd for 26 dwellinghouses on land at The Croft, Dingleton Road, Melrose remains to be decided (SBC Ref: 18/01385/FUL).

In Berwickshire, a proposal for the erection of 51 affordable dwellinghouses by Berwickshire Housing Association on land south and west of Ayton Primary School on Beanburn, Ayton is causing a stir (SBC Ref: 18/01812/FUL).  The proposed development was the subject of a Proposal of Application Notice in July 2018 when two public consultation events were held in the primary school, attended by some 80 people.  Particular concerns were raised in relation to increased traffic on Beanburn Road and Lawfield Drive, the potential for increased flooding of adjoining houses and the impact of the development on the amenity of nearby houses.  The site is allocated for housing in the adopted local development plan but a number of objections have already been submitted in relation to the planning application, so this application will be one to watch out for at a future Planning and Building Standards Committee.

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 January, some 100 planning applications have been determined by the Chief Planning Officer under delegated powers.  In Hawick, planning permission was granted, as expected, to T.J. Morris Ltd (Home Bargains) for the change of use of the Homebase Store at Galalaw Business Park, Hawick to allow 30% of the floor space to be used for food retailing (SBC Ref: 18/01441/FUL).  According to the agents, acting on behalf of T.J. Morris: “The proposed development will improve choice for consumers, whilst complementing the existing offer within the town centre”.  Will it enhance the viability and vitality of Hawick town centre, I wonder!  Planning permission has been granted, after a 16 months delay, for the erection of ten retirement homes on the site of the former West Linton Primary School (SBC Ref: 16/01217/FUL).  A legal agreement will ensure that, at least initially, the houses will be occupied by those of retirement age.

Only three planning applications were refused: (1) a proposal to amend the design of an approved proposed house on land at Ruthven House, Coldstream on the grounds that the design and scale of the house does not respect the character and appearance of surrounding properties (SBC Ref: 18/01602/FUL); (2) a proposal for a new dwellinghouse on land east of Tarf House, Cardrona, Peeblesshire on the grounds that it does not comply with the council’s housing in the countryside policy (SBC Ref: 18/00884/PPP); and (3) a proposal to replace timber sash-and-case windows on the front elevation of the property Sunnybrae, which is within the Core Area of the Midlem Conservation Area, near Selkirk, with uPVC framed sliding sash-and-case units (SBC Ref: 18/01462/FUL).

On the 7 January, the Planning and Building Standards Committee granted planning permission for the erection of 64 affordable dwellings on land north of Sergeants Park, Newtown St. Boswells notwithstanding the receipt of a considerable number of objections from neighbouring residents and the community council (18/00486/FUL).  On 21 January, the Local Review Body (LRB) reversed the decision of the Chief Planning Officer to refuse planning permission for the erection of a dwellinghouse at Linthill, Lilliesleaf, by Melrose (SBC Ref: 18/01332/PPP).  By a vote of six to one, the LRB considered that the proposal related to an established building group.  The applicant for a house on land near Tarf House, West Linton, was not so fortunate however (SBC Ref: 18/01341/PPP).  In that case, the LRB agreed with the Chief Planning Officer that the proposal amounted to sporadic residential development in the countryside unrelated to a building group and upheld the decision of the Chief Planning Officer to refuse planning permission.

As announced in the Tweedbank Development update (December 2018), Scottish Borders Council has acquired the remaining part of Lowood Estate, Tweedbank, an area extending to some 45 hectares (110 acres) between the Waverley railway line and the River Tweed.  The area is identified for a mix of residential and business development in the adopted local development plan, with the potential for some 300 houses and land for new business development.  At its meeting on 31 January, the Council agreed to submit the business case for the refurbishment of the existing Tweedbank Industrial Estate, at a cost of £15m, to the Scottish Government as part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal.  The first phase of development will create 4,660m² of new office space and 2,950m² of new industrial space on three sites (the ex-tapestry site, Eildon Mill and part of the Quarry site); the second phase will create up to 5,177m² of new office space on the rest of the Quarry site and the third phase will create 1,632m² of new office space and 400m² of industrial space on the southern edge of the Lowood Estate.  The whole programme will be completed over the 15 year life of the City Region Deal.  Meanwhile, the application for a mixed use development including a hotel, restaurant with drive-thru facility, food retail store and petrol filling station with shop on a site ( originally identified for a B&Q warehouse) at Tweedbank Industrial Estate (SBC Ref: 18/01520/FUL) remains to be determined.  To date, the application has been the subject of a number of objections as well as supporting comments.  It will be interesting to see how the Planning and Building Standards Committee views this proposal against its vision for Tweedbank Industrial Estate and Business Park.

On 7 January 2019, the Scottish Ministers accepted the Reporter’s recommendation that planning permission should be granted, subject to 16conditions, to the application by Eildon Housing Association for residential development at Huddersfield Street, Galashiels, which was called-in for determination in view of the possible flood risk (SBC Ref: 17/00695/FUL) (DPEA Ref: NA-SBD-054).  The Reporter was satisfied that, whilst the cycle storage area and most of the car park was at risk of flooding, there was no reason why the building containing the residential accommodation could not be designed and constructed so as to be undamaged by any predicted flood event.

On 24 January, the Scottish Government’s Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) dismissed the appeal against the serving of an enforcement notice by the council alleging that the use of land south and east of the property ‘Oaklands’ in Ednam village, near Kelso has been changed from agricultural land to garden ground without planning permission and that a variety of domestic structures have been erected/placed on the land (SBC Ref: 17/00131/UNDEV) (DPEA Ref: ENA-140-2012).

As previously indicated, appeals have been submitted in relation to 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).  The Reporter appointed to determine these appeals will carry out an accompanied inspection of the site and surrounding area on Tuesday 5 February 2019 at 2.00pm.

Appeals remain outstanding in relation to the serving of an Amenity Notice for the removal of two shed structures, a van and various items from land west of Gallowberry Bank, Blyth Bridge, near West Linton in Peeblesshire (SBC Ref: 15/00045/UNDEV; DPEA Ref: ANAA-140-2001); and 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).  Two appeals against the refusal of planning permission remain to be determined: (1) 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); (2) 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).  The appeal against the refusal of Tree Works Consent for the removal of a mature copper beech tree at 22 Craigmyle Park, Clovenfords, near Galashiels also remains to be determined (SBC Ref: 18/01057/TPO) (DPEA Ref: TWCA-140-2).

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).

 

Development Management: Christmas 2018 update

In relation to planning applications submitted, 2018 has ended relatively quietly.  During December 2018, the Scottish Borders Council received less than 100 applications for planning permission and other consents, including listed building and conservation area consents and applications for works to protected trees.  There were no obvious contentious applications.  During the same period, some 70 planning applications have been determined by the Chief Planning Officer under delegated powers, only two of which were refused: (1) an application to reinstate two windows in lieu of air conditioning units at Deans Bar, Orrock Place, Hawick (SBC Ref: 17/01368/FUL); and (2) an application for the erection of a dwellinghouse at Lamberton in Berwickshire.

On the 10 December, the Planning and Building Standards Committee granted planning permission for the variation of condition 1 attached to planning consent 13/00789/FUL for the Braidlie Wind Farm, near the Hermitage Valley south of Hawick (SBC Ref: 18/01251/FUL).  The effect of the variation is to extend the time limit for initiating the development to three years from the date of the new permission (10 December 2018) rather than the date of the original permission (June 2016).  The planning application to vary conditions 1, 3, 4 & 14 of planning permission 13/00789/FUL remains to be determined.  This application (SBC Ref: 18/01456/FUL), as well as requesting an extension of time to initiate development, also requests an increase of the micro-siting allowance from 50m to 100m, an increase in tip height of six of the turbines to 149.9m and also requests a relaxation to allow the development to commence prior to the approval of the required ATC Radar Mitigation Scheme. The Braidlie Wind Farm was granted planning permission on appeal by the Scottish Government’s Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) in June 2016.  It will interesting to see the attitude of the Planning and Building Standards Committee to these proposed deviations from the plans approved by Scottish Ministers.

On the 10 December, the Planning and Building Standards Committee also granted planning permission for the erection of 38 dwellinghouses on a site at Thirlstane Drive, Lauder, much to the consternation of the Lauderdale Community Council and a number of neighbour objectors (SBC Ref: 18/00792/FUL).  The planning application for the erection of 64 dwellinghouses on land north of Sergeants Park, Newtown St. Boswells was, however, continued until the next meeting to allow officers to examine the infrastructure capacity issues and how the proposed development would site within the wider master plan for the Newtown Expansion Area (SBC Ref: 18/00486/FUL).

It will be 2019 before two other contentious applications appear on the agenda of the Planning and Building Standards Committee: (1) the application for a mixed use development including a hotel, restaurant with drive-thru facility, food retail store and petrol filling station with shop on a site at Tweedbank Industrial Estate (SBC Ref: 18/01520/FUL); and (2) the proposal by Rural Renaissance Ltd for 26 dwellinghouses on land at The Croft, Dingleton Road, Melrose (SBC Ref: 18/01385/FUL).

Back to the recurring issue of wind farms; another interesting application for the council’s Planning and Building Standards Committee to determine will be the application by Energiekontor to vary conditions 2 & 4 of planning consent 17/00010/FUL for the Pines Burn Wind Farm sited south-west of Bonchester Bridge, which was granted planning permission on appeal by the Scottish Government’s Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) in August 2018.  This application (SBC Ref: 18/01443/FUL) requests that the micro-siting distance for turbines from the position shown on the approved plans be increased to 100m and that the tip height of five of the turbines be increased to 149.9m.  Having refused planning permission for the development, it will be interesting to see the attitude of the Planning and Building Standards Committee to these proposed deviations from the plans approved by Scottish Ministers.

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.

At its meeting on 17 December, the Local Review Body (LRB) upheld the decision of the Chief Planning Officer to refuse planning permission for the replacement of shop front windows and door screens at Scott’s View Take-Away, Main Street, St. Boswells (SBC Ref: 18/01010/FUL).  The LRB agreed that the proposed UPVC door and side panels would be harmful to the character and appearance of the St. Boswells Conservation Area by reason of their design and materials proposed.  In relation to the planning application for alterations and extension to the dwellinghouse ‘Elsielea’ at 61 West High Street, Lauder, the LRB determined to vary the planning permission granted by the Chief Planning Officer by deleting condition 2 of the consent 18/00580/FUL, which required the submission of amended drawings of the proposed garage/workshop showing the mono-pitched roof reversed.  The LRB was content with the proposed design.

During December, the Scottish Government’s Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) dismissed the appeal against the council’s refusal to issue a Certificate of Lawful Use, as a dwellinghouse, of a property used in the past as a guest house at Camptown, south of Jedburgh. (SBC Ref: 18/00849/CLEU) (DPEA Ref: CLUD-140-2002).

As indicated in the November update, appeals have been submitted in relation to 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).  At the meeting on 10 December, the Planning and Building Standards Committee responded to the appeals to the effect that, had they not been lodged, the Committee would have refused the planning application on the grounds of retaining the allotments [which it is proposed to relocate to another part of the site] in their current position, and refused the application for conservation area consent on the grounds that there was no appropriate redevelopment proposals in place for the buildings to be demolished.

An appeal has been submitted against the serving of an Amenity Notice for the removal of two shed structures, a van and various items from land west of Gallowberry Bank, Blyth Bridge, near West Linton in Peeblesshire (SBC Ref: 15/00045/UNDEV; DPEA Ref: ANAA-140-2001).  An appeal has also been submitted 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).

Two appeals against the refusal of planning permission remain to be determined: (1) 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); (2) 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).  The appeal against the refusal of Tree Works Consent for the removal of a mature copper beech tree at 22 Craigmyle Park, Clovenfords, near Galashiels also remains to be determined (SBC Ref: 18/01057/TPO) (DPEA Ref: TWCA-140-2).

An appeal against the serving of an enforcement notice by the council alleging that the use of land south and east of the property ‘Oaklands’ in Ednam village, near Kelso has been changed from agricultural land to garden ground without planning permission and that a variety of domestic structures have been erected/placed on the land (SBC Ref: 17/00131/UNDEV) (DPEA Ref: ENA-140-2012) remains to be determined.

The Reporter’s report and recommendations have been submitted to Scottish Ministers for their decision in connection with the application by Eildon Housing Association for residential development at Huddersfield Street, Galashiels, which was called-in for determination by Scottish Ministers in view of the possible flood risk (SBC Ref: 17/00695/FUL) (DPEA Ref: NA-SBD-054).

Until just before Christmas, three 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; (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).

The Reporter’s reports in relation to the two Fallago Rig applications were submitted to Scottish Ministers in July and their decision on these applications is awaited.  However, on 21 December, Scottish Ministers decided, after a public inquiry, to refuse the application for consent for the Birneyknowe Wind Farm.  Scottish Ministers agreed with the Reporter’s findings that the wind farm would not preserve natural beauty and would be in conflict with important aspects of Scottish Planning Policy, and that the benefits of the proposal in relation to the support for renewable energy development at national level did not outweigh these concerns.  The local community, and no doubt Scottish Borders Council, will be delighted with this Christmas present.  Is the tide turning?

 

Development Management: November 2018 update

During November 2018, the Scottish Borders Council received some 130 applications for planning permission and other consents, including listed building and conservation area consents and applications for works to protected trees.  Undoubtedly, the application which will catch most public attention is the application for a mixed use development including a hotel, restaurant with drive-thru facility, food retail store and petrol filling station with shop on a site at Tweedbank Industrial Estate (SBC Ref: 18/01520/FUL).  The site was previously acquired by B&Q but the planning application for a warehouse was never determined and was eventually withdrawn.  A supporting statement explains that the proposed “Borders Gateway” development includes a BP Filling Station and M&S Food Kiosk, Costa Coffee Drive Thru, Premier Inn with 71 beds and a discount food retail unit with 108 car spaces.  The site forms part of a much larger area zoned as a strategically important employment area and is outwith the area adjacent to the train station zoned for mixed uses in the local development plan, which has been suggested as a possible site for a hotel.  Whilst some organisations have welcomed the proposals, concerns have already been expressed by Galashiels Community Council about the effect of such a development on Galashiels town centre and on the prospects for a new hotel in Galashiels, for which a number of possible alternative sites have been identified.  With consultations on the new local development plan (LDP2) on-going, a decision on this application is likely to take some time and is likely to be controversial, whichever way it goes.  I am looking forward to hearing the debate when the matter, eventually, comes before the council’s Planning and Building Standards Committee for determination!

Elsewhere, opposition is mounting in Melrose to the proposal by Rural Renaissance Ltd for 26 dwellinghouses on land at The Croft, Dingleton Road (SBC Ref: 18/01385/FUL).  As predicted, this proposal has attracted a great deal of attention amongst the population of Melrose and almost 60 objections have been received.  Particular concerns relate to the suitability of Dingleton Road to accept traffic from additional housing development and to the impact of any development on the character and landscape value of the Eildon Hills.  This application will no doubt be another test for the Planning and Building Standards Committee.

Eildon Housing submitted a Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) for the redevelopment of the Earlston High School site for residential development on the 25 October (SBC Ref: 18/01493/PAN).  The community engagement event proposed for some time between the 15th and 30th November in Earlston Church Hall, is now to be held on 6 December (between 5.00pm and 8.00pm).

In Kelso, a Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) has been submitted by local builders M & J Ballantyne for alterations and conversion of the former Kelso High School to form extra care housing and the erection of private housing within the grounds (SBC Ref: 18/01574/PAN).  A public drop-in event was held on 22 November in the Assembly Room at the High School.  Any subsequent planning application cannot be submitted before 1 February 2019 and a pre-application consultation report will need to accompany the application detailing the results of the pre-application consultations, including the public event.

Back to the recurring issue of wind farms; another interesting application for the council’s Planning and Building Standards Committee will be the application by Energiekontor to vary conditions 2 & 4 of planning consent 17/00010/FUL for the Pines Burn Wind Farm sited south-west of Bonchester Bridge, which was granted planning permission on appeal by the Scottish Government’s Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) in August 2018.  This application (SBC Ref: 18/01443/FUL) requests that the micro-siting distance for turbines from the position shown on the approved plans be increased to 100m and that the tip height of five of the turbines be increased to 149.9m.  Having refused planning permission for the development, it will be interesting to see the attitude of the Planning and Building Standards Committee to these proposed deviations from the plans approved by Scottish Ministers.

Another wind farm case that will require to be considered by the Planning and Building Standards Committee is the application by Energiekontor to vary conditions 1, 3, 4 & 14 of planning permission 13/00789/FUL for the Braidlie Wind Farm, near the Hermitage Valley south of Hawick, which was also granted planning permission on appeal by the Scottish Government’s Planning and Environmental Appeals Division in June 2016.  This application (SBC Ref: 18/01456/FUL) requests an extension of time to initiate development, an increase of the micro-siting allowance from 50m to 100m, an increase in tip height of six of the turbines to 149.9m and also requests a relaxation to allow the development to commence prior to the approval of the required ATC Radar Mitigation Scheme. Again, it will interesting to see the attitude of the Planning and Building Standards Committee to these proposed deviations from the plans approved by Scottish Ministers.

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 November, some 130 applications have been determined by the Chief Planning Officer under delegated powers, ten of which have been refused planning permission.  Perhaps the most contentious is the application for the change of use of the Redburn Garage, located in a prominent position on the Peebles Road on the outskirts of Galashiels, to joiner’s workshop and showroom, caravan repairs and sales, car valet, retail and the siting of a catering unit (SBC Ref: 18/00723/FUL).  This is a retrospective application for the former Bruce Motors Garage and Showroom which has been in use for above uses for some time.  Whilst the Chief Planning Officer considered that some aspects of the development are acceptable, the application has been refused because of the retail and joiner’s workshop element of the development.

Elsewhere planning permission has been refused for: (i) the erection of a dwellinghouse on land at Tarf House, West Linton (SBC Ref: 18/01341/PPP); (ii) the erection of two dwellinghouses at Croupyett, Ancrum (SBC Ref: 18/01177/PPP); (iii) the erection of an extension to a dwellinghouse at Townhead Way, Newstead (SBC Ref: 18/01215/FUL); (iv) the erection of a storage shed at 17 Leithen Road, Innerleithen (SBC Ref: 18/01116/FUL); (v) the erection of 7 additional workshop units, including one to be used as a dog day-care facility together with exercise area at Farknowes, Langshaw Road, Galashiels (SBC Ref: 18/01229/FUL); (vi) the erection of a dwellinghouse at Old Graden, Kelso (SBC Ref: 18/01252/PPP); (vii) the erection of a dwellinghouse at Linthill, Lilliesleaf, by Melrose (SBC Ref: 18/01332/PPP); (viii) the erection of a dwellinghouse on Eddy Road, Newstead, Melrose (SBC Ref: 18/01060/FUL; and (ix) the change of use of the Mansfield Bar on Mansfield Road in Hawick to a residential flat (SBC Ref: 18/01330/FUL).  Since it seems to be the practice for applicants who are refused planning permission by the Chief Planning Officer under delegated powers to appeal the decision, the council’s Local Review Body is going to be busy in the coming months.

At its meeting on 5 November, the Planning and Building Standards Committee decided to continue consideration, pending a site visit, of the application for the redevelopment of the March Street Mills site in Peebles for residential units (SBC Ref: 17/00063/PPP).  This proposal, submitted almost two years ago after extensive pre-application consultation, has generated considerable opposition from Peebles residents and a wide range of other local organisations.  At the time of writing, the agent for the developer, Moorbrook Textiles Ltd, has intimated that they are not prepared to wait any longer for a decision from the council and have decided to submit an appeal to the Scottish Government’s Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) against the non-determination of the application.  It is interesting to see that in submitting the appeal rather than wait for a decision from the Planning and Building Standards Committee, the agents for the applicants indicate that the decision to appeal: “has been driven by the understanding of the appellant that the key determining issues and planning balance……are highly complex and emotive, such that they consider that placing the decision making in the hands of a Reporter acting on behalf of Scottish Ministers to be the appropriate action”.  Watch this space!

At its meeting on 19 November, the Local Review Body (LRB) reversed two decisions of its Chief Planning Officer to refuse planning permission for: (1) the erection of a dwellinghouse on land at Ladywood, Lower Greenhill, Selkirk (SBC Ref: 18/00929/PPP); and (2) the erection of a dwellinghouse at Chapel Cottage, Melrose (SBC Ref: 18/00644/PPP).  The LRB did support the decision of the Chief Planning Officer to refuse planning permission in respect of the erection of a further two dwellinghouses at Lower Greenhill, Selkirk (SBC Ref: 18/00832/PPP) and to refuse planning permission for the change of use of part of Unit 8 at Tweedside Park, Tweedbank (the former Plexus Facility) to form a gymnasium, children’s soft play area and associated café. (SBC Ref: 18/00635/FUL).  In this case, the LRB considered that the loss of business space, although limited, would undermine the aims of the council’s recently approved Supplementary Guidance for the Central Borders (Tweedbank) Business Park.  Will this decision have any impact in relation to the more recent proposal on the Tweedbank Industrial Estate referred to above!

During November, the Scottish Government’s Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) reached decisions on the appeals against the refusal of planning permission for: (1) the erection of a poultry building at Hutton Hall Barns, Hutton in Berwickshire (SBC Ref: 17/00623/FUL) (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2065); and (2) the erection of a poultry building at Easter Happrew in the Manor Valley, west of Peebles (SBC Ref: 16/01377/FUL) (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2062).  In both cases, the Reporter appointed to determine the appeal, reversed the decision of the council and granted planning permission for the proposals.  One appeal against the refusal of planning permission remains to be determined: 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).

The Reporter’s report and recommendations have been submitted to Scottish Ministers for their decision in connection with the application by Eildon Housing Association for residential development at Huddersfield Street, Galashiels, which was called-in for determination by Scottish Ministers in view of the possible flood risk (SBC Ref: 17/00695/FUL) (DPEA Ref: NA-SBD-054).

The appeal against the serving of an enforcement notice by the council alleging that the use of land south and east of the property ‘Oaklands’ in Ednam village, near Kelso has been changed from agricultural land to garden ground without planning permission and that a variety of domestic structures have been erected/placed on the land (SBC Ref: 17/00131/UNDEV) (DPEA Ref: ENA-140-2012) remains to be determined.  The site inspection has been arranged for 6 December.  The appeal against the council’s refusal to issue a Certificate of Lawful Use, as a dwellinghouse, of a property used in the past as a guest house at Camptown, south of Jedburgh also remains to be determined.(SBC Ref: 18/00849/CLEU) (DPEA Ref: CLUD-140-2002).

Two new appeals have been submitted to the DPEA.  As expected an appeal has been submitted against the decision of the Planning and Building Standards Committee, at its meeting on 3 September, to refuse planning permission against the Chief Planning Officer’s recommendation, 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).  This is a revised proposal, following the withdrawal of concerns expressed by the Ministry of Defence over possible interference with radar at RAF Spadeadam in Cumbria and seismic monitoring at Eskdalemuir, near Langholm.  However, although the Chief Planning Officer recommended approval, the Committee decided on a vote of 5 votes to 2 to refuse the application on the grounds that the proposal would have significant and adverse impacts and effects on the landscape.  Representations on the appeal will be accepted by the DPEA until 21 December.

Whereas appeals against the refusal of planning permission by the Chief Planning Officer are referred to the council’s Local Review Body (LRB) for determination, appeals against the refusal of consent for works to trees by the council’s Tree Officer are a matter for the Scottish Government’s Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA).  The council’s LRB has no locus in the matter (see my post on ‘Trees, woodlands and hedges’).  Although the council deals with over 100 tree works applications per year, very few are refused consent and appeals to the DPEA are rare.  In fact, only two such appeals appear on the DPEA website, one of which was withdrawn shortly after submission.  The second appeal, submitted on 15 November, relates to the refusal of Tree Works Consent for the removal of a mature copper beech tree at 22 Craigmyle Park, Clovenfords, near Galashiels (SBC Ref: 18/01057/TPO) (DPEA Ref: TWCA-140-2).  The appeal will be determined by a Reporter appointed by the DPEA through consideration of the written submissions from the council and the appellant and a site inspection.

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).  The Reporter’s reports in relation to these three applications have been submitted to Scottish Ministers and their decision is awaited.

Development Management: October 2018 update

During October 2018, 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.  Amongst the applications submitted, perhaps the one to catch most public attention is the application by T.J. Morris Ltd (Home Bargains) for the change of use of the Homebase Store at Galalaw Business Park, Hawick to allow 30% of the floor space to be used for food retailing (SBC Ref: 18/01441/FUL).  The proposed development would create 50 full-time equivalent jobs compared with the 27 currently employed at the Homebase Store.  The application has already been welcomed by local councillors.  However, whilst the proposed development is likely to generate additional employment, it is unlikely to have any beneficial effect on the viability and vitality of Hawick town centre.  Also during October, an application was received for the demolition of the Armstrong’s (Almstrong’s) building, which once housed a valued department store on Oliver Crescent, and the erection of a replacement office building (SBR Refs: 18/01419/CON & 18/01420/FUL).  A perfect illustration of how the town centre is changing with the expansion of retailing on Commercial Road.

In Galashiels, an application has been received from Eildon Housing Association for further residential development, comprising 69 dwellinghouses, at Coopersknowe Crescent (SBC Ref: 18/01416/FUL).  The site lies on the western side of the Langshaw Road between the private housing development at Coopersknowe Crescent and the Langlee Industrial Estate and is comprised of the former Easter Langlee farm steading and surrounding agricultural land.  This application follows the submission of a Proposal of Application Notice in June 2018 and a programme of pre-application public consultation.  Objections to the proposal have already been submitted and it will be interesting to see how this development proposal is dealt with by the council.  Eildon Housing has also submitted a Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) for the redevelopment of the Earlston High School site for residential development (SBC Ref: 18/01493/PAN).  It is proposed to hold a community engagement event sometime between the 15th and 30th November in Earlston Church Hall.  The subject will also be discussed at Earlston Community Council meeting on the 15th November.  Watch out for further news and the advertisement in the local press.

In Melrose, an application has now been received for the erection of 26 dwellinghouses on land at The Croft, Dingleton Road (SBC Ref: 18/01385/FUL).  The site is allocated for housing in the Local Development Plan with a capacity for 25 houses.  A Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) was submitted by the developer, Rural Renaissance Ltd, in January 2018, and a public exhibition of the proposed development was held in Melrose Rugby Club (SBC Ref: 18/00016/PAN).  This site has a long history of planning proposals and, as predicted, this proposal has attracted a great deal of attention amongst the population of Melrose.  Particular concerns relate to the suitability of Dingleton Road to accept traffic from additional housing development and to the impact of any development on the character and landscape value of the Eildon Hills.  Objections have already been submitted and this application will no doubt be another test for the Planning and Building Standards Committee.

In Tweeddale, a re-application has been submitted by Border Mix for the erection of a storage and distribution building and an ancillary dwellinghouse on a site north east of the Old Creamery outside Dolphinton (SBC Ref: 18/01377/FUL).  A similar application was refused by the Planning and Building Standards Committee in August 2017 (SBC Ref: 17/00087/FUL).  Refusal was primarily based on the absence of an overriding economic and/or operational need.  Further information has now been produced to show that, given the absence of other suitable sites within the market area, the Dolphinton site remains the only viable option to accommodate the relocation of Border Mix from the present site, which is within an established residential area in Dolphinton.  Another application for the Planning and Building Standards Committee.

In Tweeddale, an application has also been submitted by the Tweedsmuir Community Company for alterations to the Crook Inn Hotel, Tweedsmuir, the change of use and alterations to an outbuilding to a café and office, the erection of a bunkhouse and a biomass boiler building (SBC Ref: 18/01342/FUL).  A very welcome proposal for this historic hostelry, which has lain empty and decaying for a number of years.

In Berwickshire, an interesting proposal in Eyemouth involves the demolition of the existing boatyard buildings and their replacement (SBC Refs: 18/01374/CON & 18/01372/FUL).  Boat building and repair has taken place on this site for almost 200 years.  Boat building no longer takes place in the yard and the decline in the fishing industry has seen the yard struggle to remain profitable.  The existing slipways do not have the height to accommodate the largest fishing vessels under cover and they have to be worked on outside, which limits certain work to the summer months when the boats are most active.  Redevelopment of the yard will raise the height of the three sheds on the site to allow the maintenance and painting of vessels indoors and at all times of year.

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.

At its meeting on 1 October, the Planning and Building Standards Committee granted planning permission for the erection of 57 dwellinghouses on the north side of Main Street, East End, Chirnside (SBC Ref: 18/00147/FUL).  The proposed development will comprise 100% affordable housing.  At its meeting on 10 October, the Local Review Body (LRB) reversed two decisions of its Chief Planning Officer to refuse planning permission for: (1) the erection of two glamping units for holiday let on land at Flatt Farm, Newcastleton (SBC Ref: 18/00686/FUL); and (2) the change of use of steading, alterations and extension to form a dwellinghouse at Billerwell Farm, Hawick (SBC Ref: 18/00745/FUL).  In the first case, the LRB supported the proposals which represented an expansion of an existing farm diversification business based on tourism.  In the second case, the LRB, on a vote of 5 members to 4 members, considered that the amended design for the proposed dwellinghouse was acceptable.  The LRB did, however, support the decision of the Chief Planning Officer to refuse planning permission in respect of the installation of replacement windows at 41 North Hermitage Street, Newcastleton (SBC Ref: 18/01039/FUL).  Members did not consider that the proposed uPVC top-hung windows were acceptable in Newcastleton Conservation Area.

During October, some 100 applications were dealt with by the Chief Planning Officer under delegated powers.  Only one application was refused: an application for the replacement of shop front windows and door screens at Scott’s View Take-away, Main Street, St. Boswells (SBC Ref: 18/01010/FUL).  The existing uPVC shop front, which replaced a timber shop front, is the subject of enforcement action.  The current proposal seeks to replace the uPVC shop front with a timber frame painted white whilst the door and side panel would remain uPVC.  The Chief Planning Officer considers that, at this location within a conservation area, the whole of the shop front should be timber framed with a traditional timber door.

In Berwickshire, planning permissions have now been issued for the erection of a total of 75 dwellinghouses on land north-west of Springfield Avenue (SBC Ref: 17/00993/FUL & 18/00994/FUL).  Planning permission was granted in February 2018 subject to a section 75 agreement requiring the provision of a footpath link between the development site and Bridgend Place.  This agreement has now been finalised.  In Tweeddale, planning permission was granted for the development of up to 15 dwellinghouses on land south-west and south-east of Bowbank Cottages, Bellfield Road, Eddleston, subject to the improvement of the private road, which currently serves the site, up to adoptable standards and the improvement of the junction of Bellfield Road and the A703 (SBC Ref: 17/00767/PPP).

During October, the Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) reached a decision on the appeal against the refusal of planning permission for a residential development at Marchmont Road, Greenlaw in Berwickshire (SBC Ref: 16/01360/PPP) (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2059).  The Reporter in this case decided to allow the appeal and grant planning permission in principle subject to 11 conditions and to a planning obligation under section 75 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 in order to secure a contribution towards affordable housing.  In deciding to allow the appeal, the Reporter, on the basis of the housing land supply information submitted, considered that there was a shortfall in the requirement to maintain a five year effective housing land supply at all times and concluded that there were strong reasons why an exceptional approval should be granted.  Questions will be asked as to how the council carries out its audit of housing land and calculates the supply of effective housing land.  No doubt, these issues will to the fore in the review of the local development plan.

An appeal was submitted to the DPEA on 9 October against the serving of an enforcement notice by the council alleging that the use of land south and east of the property ‘Oaklands’ in Ednam village, near Kelso has been changed from agricultural land to garden ground without planning permission and that a variety of domestic structures have been erected/placed on the land (DPEA Ref: ENA-140-2012).  Interested members of the public are entitled to make representations on the appeal until 6 November.

An appeal against the council’s refusal to issue a Certificate of Lawful Use of a property used in the past as a guest house, as a dwellinghouse, at Camptown, south of Jedburgh  remains to be determined (SBC Ref: 18/00849/CLEU) (DPEA Ref: CLUD-140-2002).  Three appeals remain to be determined against the refusal of planning permission: (1) 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); (2) for the erection of a poultry building at Hutton Hall Barns, Hutton in Berwickshire (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2065); (3) for the erection of a poultry building at Easter Happrew in the Manor Valley, west of Peebles (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2062).

The hearing session in connection with the application by Eildon Housing Association for residential development at Huddersfield Street, Galashiels, which was called-in for determination by Scottish Ministers in view of the possible flood risk (SBC Ref: 17/00695/FUL) (DPEA Ref: NA-SBD-054) was held on Wednesday 15 August in the Waverley Suite at the Transport Interchange, Galashiels.  The Reporter’s report and recommendations have been submitted to Scottish Ministers for their decision.

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).  The Reporter’s reports in relation to these three applications have been submitted to Scottish Ministers and their decision is awaited.

 

Development Management: September 2018 update

During September 2018, the Scottish Borders Council received over 150 applications for planning permission and other consents, including listed building and conservation area consents and applications for works to protected trees.  There seems to be no end to the desire of wind farm operators to expand the number of wind turbines in the Scottish Borders; another wind farm proposal has been submitted for the Moorfoot Hills.  A Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) was submitted on 6 September for a wind farm of up to 9 turbines with tip heights up to 150 metres at Wull Muir, north of Carcant Lodge, near Heriot (SBC Ref: 18/01164/PAN).  An application for a Scoping Opinion on the same proposal was received on 24 September (SBC Ref: 18/01308/SCO).  In this case, the applicant has voluntarily decided to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) prior to the submission of an application and has formally requested the opinion of Scottish Borders Council on the Scoping Report, which sets out the matters that should be included in an EIA.  The Scoping Report provides an outline of the environmental receptors that the developer considers may be significantly affected by the proposed development and the application for a Scoping Opinion invites comments on the scope of the proposed EIA.

Bearing in mind the attitude of the council’s Planning and Building Standards Committee on the recent proposal for a wind farm at Gilston Farm, Heriot and to other proposed wind farms in the area, the Wull Muir proposal is unlikely to be received with much enthusiasm.  No doubt the proposal will figure on a future agenda of the Council’s Planning and Building Standards Committee.  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.

Whilst on the subject of wind farms, it will come as no surprise to see that the Planning and Building Standards Committee, at its meeting on 3 September, refused planning permission, against the Chief Planning Officer’s recommendation, 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).  This was a revised proposal, following the withdrawal of concerns expressed by the Ministry of Defence over possible interference with radar at RAF Spadeadam in Cumbria and seismic monitoring at Eskdalemuir, near Langholm.  However, although the Chief Planning Officer recommended approval, the Committee decided on a vote of 5 votes to 2 to refuse the application on the grounds that the proposal would have significant and adverse impacts and effects on the landscape.  Is another appeal to the Scottish Government likely?

On the subject of wind farm appeals, official figures from the Scottish Government’s Planning and Environmental Appeals Division show that, over the past 16 years, 250 wind turbine applications refused by Scottish Councils have been the subject of appeals to Scottish Ministers.  Of these 250 appeals, 104 (41.6%) were successful and planning permission was granted.  In the Scottish Borders, 9 of the 21 appeals dealt with were successful.

The Planning and Building Standards Committee at its meeting on 3 September granted listed building consent for the demolition of St. Aidan’s Church and Church Hall in Galashiels (SBC Ref: 18/00309/LBC).  Planning permission and listed building consent had been granted in October 2015 for the demolition of the church hall and the conversion of the church into eleven flats.  However, it was submitted that the repair and conversion of the church is not economically viable, the property has been marketed with no serious interest from prospective purchasers.  Unfortunately, it would appear that demolition and redevelopment is the only alternative!

At its meeting on 17 September, the Local Review Body (LRB) overturned the decision of its Chief Planning Officer to refuse planning permission for the change of use of 37 Bank Street, Galashiels from a shop to a mortgage advisers (SBC Ref: 18/00764/FUL; 18/00018/RREF).  The Chief Planning Officer had determined that the change of use was not permissible under the council’s recently approved Pilot Scheme because it offered an inactive frontage and low footfall.  The LRB considered that although the proposed use did not fall within the range of uses identified in the Pilot Scheme, the proposed business would complement other uses in Bank Street and would make a significant positive contribution to the viability of the town centre.  The Local Review Body also overturned the Chief Planning Officers decision to refuse planning permission for the change of use of 52 Bank Street, Galashiels to a tattoo studio (SBC Ref: 18/00398/FUL; 18/00020/RREF).  The LRB considered that, whilst the tattoo studio did not fall within the extended acceptable use categories listed in the Pilot Scheme, policy Ed4 of the approved LDP allows other uses where they make a demonstrable contribution to the retail function of the town centre.  In this instance, the LRB was satisfied that it had been demonstrated that the business would make a significant positive contribution to the town centre and that a sufficiently persuasive case had been made to allow the business.  It will be interesting to see how many more proposals for the change of use of retail premises to other uses come forward in the Galashiels Core Retail Activity Area and whether there is any significant measurable change in footfall or a reduction in vacancy rates as a result.

During September, some 100 applications were dealt with by the Chief Planning Officer under delegated powers.  In Berwickshire, planning permission was granted for the erection of 27 affordable dwellinghouses on a site off Station Road, Duns (SBC Ref: 18/00337/FUL) and for the erection of 25 dwellinghouses, a new village hall and formation of playing field on land south and west of Swinton Primary School (SBC Ref: 12/01488/PPP).  Three planning applications were refused: (1) an application for replacement windows on a property in North Hermitage Street, Newcastleton (SBC Ref: 18/00211/FUL); (2) an application for an isolated house in the countryside, near Chapel Farm, between Midlem and Lilliesleaf (SBC Ref: 18/00956/FUL); and (3) an application for a dwellinghouse on a site east of Keleden, Ednam (SBC Ref: [the Local Review Body granted planning permission in principle for a dwellinghouse on the site in July 2018 but the Chief Planning Officer considers that the layout, siting and orientation of the proposed building makes poor use of the plot and the size and scale of the proposed house is too large].

During September, the Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) reached a decision on the appeal against the imposition of two conditions on the planning permission, granted on 26 March 2018, for the erection of two wind turbines on land at No. 6 Lamberton Holdings in Berwickshire.  The appealed conditions relate to the requirement to decommission and remove the turbines within 25 years (SBC Ref: 17/01348/FUL) (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2071).  The Reporter decided to vary the appealed conditions and, given the scale and location of the proposed foundations, deleted the requirement to remove the foundations and restore the site to its original condition when electricity generation ceases.

An appeal against the council’s refusal to issue a Certificate of Lawful Use of a property used in the past as a guest house, as a dwellinghouse, at Camptown, south of Jedburgh was submitted on 25 September 2018 (DPEA Ref: CLUD-140-2002).  An interesting case for the DPEA!

Four appeals remain to be determined against the refusal of planning permission: (1) 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); (2) for the erection of a poultry building at Hutton Hall Barns, Hutton in Berwickshire (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2065); (3) for the erection of a poultry building at Easter Happrew in the Manor Valley, west of Peebles (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2062); and (4) a residential development of 38 dwellings at Marchmont Road, Greenlaw in Berwickshire (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2059).

The hearing session in connection with the application by Eildon Housing Association for residential development at Huddersfield Street, Galashiels, which was called-in for determination by Scottish Ministers in view of the possible flood risk (SBC Ref: 17/00695/FUL) (DPEA Ref: NA-SBD-054) was held on Wednesday 15 August in the Waverley Suite at the Transport Interchange, Galashiels.  It is expected that the Reporter’s report and recommendations will be submitted to Scottish Ministers in October.

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).  The Reporter’s reports in relation to the two Fallago Rig applications have been submitted to Scottish Ministers and their decision is awaited.  The Reporter dealing with the Birneyknowe wind farm application submitted his report to Scottish Ministers on 5 September 2018.