Development Management: June 2019 update

Scottish Borders Council’s annual performance review for 2018/2019 shows that during the year 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019 the council decided 1,369 planning applications (compared with 1,307 in 2017/2018).  In relation to householder developments, the council took on average 7.2 weeks to determine the applications, which is in line with the Scottish figure.  The council took, on average, 8.1 weeks to determine non-householder developments, compared with a Scottish figure of 10.4 weeks.  During June 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.

On the tourism front, in Peeblesshire, a planning application has been received for the erection of 26 holiday lodges on the Barony Castle Estate, outside Eddleston (SBC Ref: 19/00916/FUL).  A decision on the application for a proposed major leisure development at Rutherford House, near West Linton (SBC Ref: 19/00153/FUL), submitted in March 2019, remains outstanding and is unlikely to be made before October.  At the other end of the region, a planning application has been submitted for a major extension to the Roxburghe Hotel at Heiton, near Kelso (SBC Ref: 19/00876/FUL).  The proposed extension comprises some 60 bedrooms, restaurant, spa and conference facilities and includes an external spa garden and terracing.  This proposal forms part of a wider investment, which includes refurbishment of the existing 22 bed hotel and the erection of 60 lodges, which have the benefit of planning permission.

In the Central Borders, an interesting development at Tweedbank, is the proposal by Tempest Brewing Company to expand their business with the erection of a new brewery building, including offices, shop and bar space, on the site of the former Eildon Mill and Units A & B on the industrial estate (SBC Ref: 19/00815/FUL).  Meanwhile, a decision is awaited on the proposal for a mixed use development, including a hotel, restaurant with drive-thru facility and petrol filling station with a shop on site, proposed for the site previously ear-marked for a B & Q retail warehouse (SBC Ref: 18/01520/FUL).  This application, submitted in October 2018, has been revised to omit the originally proposed retail food store in response to comments received.  It remains to be seen whether the amended proposal will gain the support of the council’s Planning and Building Standards Committee; the opinion of Tweedbank residents is divided on the issue.  All those who made representations on the original proposals have been re-consulted on the revised proposals and a decision is unlikely before the September meeting of the Planning and Building Standards committee.

In Berwickshire, applications have been submitted for the erection of 10 new dwellings and 12 small business units on two sites at Marchmont Road, Greenlaw.  One application relates to the erection of 8 business units and the conversion of existing poultry sheds to form a further 4 business units on the site of the former poultry farm on Marchmont Road, Greenlaw (SBC Ref: 19/00913/FUL).  A second application relates to the erection of 10 dwellinghouses on land west of the poultry farm (SBC Ref: 19/00870/PPP).  The whole site was previously granted planning permission, on appeal, for the erection of 38 dwellings (SBC Ref: 16/01360/PPP; DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2059).  Applications have also been received for the erection of 5 dwellinghouses on a site off the Duns Road in Greenlaw (SBC Ref: 19/00809/PPP & 19/00810/FUL).

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 June, some 100 applications were determined by the Chief Planning Officer under delegated powers.  In Hawick, planning permission has been granted for the demolition of the former Armstrong’s [Almstrong’s] department store (SBC Ref: 18/01419/CON) and its replacement by a new building providing office accommodation for up to 17 small businesses.  This will be a welcome development in support of the council’s efforts to sustain the viability and vitality of Hawick’s town centre.

In Melrose, planning permissions have been granted for two innovative proposals; for the conversion of the former water tank on Dingleton Road, Melrose to a dwellinghouse (SBC Ref: 18/00386/FUL), and for the conversion of the former boiler house at Dingleton Hospital to form 5 flats (SBC Ref: 17/01632/FUL).  This concrete structure, built in 1977 and designed by well-known architect, Peter Womersley, was in danger of falling into disrepair following the closure of Dingleton Hospital.  Along with the Gala Fairydean stand, the SBC office building in Newtown St. Boswells built for Roxburgh County Council and the former Bernat Klein Studio outside Selkirk (perhaps his most celebrated work, which is also in danger), this structure illustrates the brutality of his modernist style, which combined the use of concrete with strong geometric lines.  Not necessarily loved by today’s generation, these structures epitomise the optimism of the late 1950s and 1960s.

Only three applications were refused planning permission in June by the Chief Planning Officer under delegated powers: (i) for the erection of a dwellinghouse at West Flemington, Eyemouth in Berwickshire (SBC Ref: 19/00330/FUL); (ii) for the erection of a dwellinghouse at Langton Mill Cottages, Duns in Berwickshire (SBC Ref: 18/01695/PPP); and (iii) for the erection of a porch on the front elevation of 2 Deloraine Court, Hawick (SBC Ref: 19/00386/FUL).  At its meeting on 3 June, the Planning and Building Standards Committee continued consideration of an application for the erection of 50 dwellings on land south west of Ayton Primary School in Ayton, Berwickshire (SBC Ref: 18/01804/FUL).  On 17 June, the Local Review Body (LRB) considered two applications for a review of the Chief Planning Officer’s decision to refuse planning permission under delegated powers; the LRB overturned the decision of the Chief Planning Officer to refuse planning permission for the part change of use of a barn at Mid Softlaw Farm, Kelso to a vehicle body repair and paint shop (SBC Ref: 18/01071/FUL; 19/00009/RREF).  The LRB also overturned the decision of the Chief Planning Officer to refuse planning permission for the erection of two dwellinghouses on land at Cowdenburn Cottages, near West Linton in Peeblesshire (SBC Ref: 18/01469/PPP; 19/00010/RREF).

In relation to appeals to the Scottish Government, 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 was dismissed on 19 June (SBC Ref: 15/00045/UNDEV: DPEA Ref: ANA-140-2004).  As expected, an appeal has been submitted in relation to the council’s refusal of a request to issue a Certificate of Lawful Existing Use in relation to the residential use of the property ‘Glenacre’ at Camptown, south of Jedburgh (SBC Ref: 19/00339/CLEU; DPEA Ref: CLUD-140-2003).

Three other appeals remain outstanding: (i) an appeal against the refusal of planning permission for two blocks of residential flats, comprising 40 units, at Tweedbridge Court, Peebles, a proposal by Eildon Housing Association (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2076); (ii) an appeal in relation to the proposal, also by Eildon Housing Association, for the erection of 69 dwelling units at Coopersknowe, Galashiels (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2075) and (iii) 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).  A hearing into certain aspects of this appeal is to be held on 6 August in the Forman Hall, Roberton, commencing at 10.00am.

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).

 

Peeblesshire County Planning in the 1960s and 1970s

Arrangements continued with Midlothian County Council in relation to the processing of planning applications until 1975; the staff of the county planning department, principally Charles Mackenzie, provided planning advice to the County Clerk and the Town Planning Committee.  It was decided not to pursue a review of the county development plan approved in 1955 but to amend the approved development plan as necessary.  The rail link between Penicuik and Galashiels, via Peebles East Station, closed in February 1962 and the route for a link road and by-pass to the east of Peebles town centre, which had been the subject of intense deliberation during the preparation of the county development plan, was resolved.  The county council agreed to purchase the East Station and an amendment to the development plan was prepared showing the new road linking Edinburgh Road with Innerleithen Road along the former railway line, and the remaining part of the station allocated for car parking and a bus terminus.  The former marshalling yard at March Street was designated for industry.  Peebles West Station, closed in 1959, was designated for residential and commercial uses, including a site for a new fire station.

On the tourism front, the future of the various holiday huts sites continued to test the resolve of the council.  There was a continuing demand to replace huts and caravans, extend existing caravan sites and develop new sites.  Milk bars and tearooms/cafes became established at a number of rural locations on the main road routes through the county.  Peter Maxwell-Stuart opened up Traquair House to the public and obtained planning permission for a shop and tearoom in 1963.  The 1960s had truly arrived in Peebles when, in 1966, a hut situated between Tweed Green and the High Street was the unauthorised venue for a ‘Beat Club’ [a venue for popular 1960s music].  A similar proposal in Romanno Bridge was refused planning permission in 1968.  Refusals of planning permission were rare prior to the 1970s, for it was the practice of the council (along with the other councils in the Borders) to defer decisions on applications that were not acceptable in the hope that an acceptable compromise could be reached or that the application would be withdrawn because of the opposition.

A Landscape and Tourism Development Plan, prepared in 1965, reviewed the AGLV designation that covered the whole county in the approved development plan, and proposed more specific areas along the Tweed Valley, the Manor Valley and the Leithen Water Valley.  It also identified various tourism proposals, including car park/picnic sites and camping/caravan sites.  In 1968, the whole of the county was designated ‘Countryside’ under the Countryside (Scotland) Act 1967 allowing grants of up to75% for countryside projects such as car parking/picnic sites in the Meldon Hills, Leithen Valley, Manor Sware Viewpoint and Cademuir, and for the employment of a part-time Ranger.  Planning permission was granted in 1968 for a roadhouse hotel (the Pantiles) at West Linton, together with a touring caravan site.  On the outskirts of Peebles, planning permission was granted for the Countryside Inn (another roadhouse type facility) at Kirnlaw, near Glentress Forest.  In 1969, the Bakehouse Tearoom in West Linton became established as a popular Sunday destination for coffee & cake.  In response to the growing popularity of caravanning, Rosetta House and its grounds were purchased by the county council in 1969 for development as a caravan and camping site.

With population continuing to decrease and low unemployment, local textile manufacturers imported labour from Midlothian.  An overspill agreement was reached between Peebles Town Council and Glasgow City Council to overcome the labour shortage and attempts were made to attract male-employing industries.  Peebles town council purchased the March Street Marshalling Yard in 1964 and the first factory was erected in 1968 by Litsters, a photographic finishing company, followed by Fidelitone, manufacturers of record styluses, in 1970.  Land at South Park would be acquired for industry by the town council in 1970.  Sand and gravel working in the northern part of the county continued to expand as the economy grew in the 1960s.  At Shiphorns, over 400 acres of land at Darnhall was granted planning permission in 1967 for sand and gravel working over a 30 year period.  In 1969, planning permissions were granted for the extension of the existing workings at Nether Falla, for a new area on Portmore Estate and for a new site at Tarfhaugh, West Linton.

On the housing front, the expansion of Peebles continued south of the Tweed with SSHA and local authority housing at Kingsmeadows Gardens and private housing at Edderston Road and Gallowhill.  Private housing was also proposed on a number of fields at St. Ronan’s Terrace, Innerleithen, whilst the SSHA continued housing development at The Pirn.  In 1968, Peebles Town Council appointed its own planning consultant to advise on the growth potential of the town.  At the same time, the county planning officer produced a draft ‘Urban Structure Plan’ for Peebles (along the lines suggested in the Government’s PAG Report ‘The future of Development Plans’ published in 1965).  This draft Plan set out future areas of growth with major expansion to the north (opposite Rosetta House) for housing and industry and the redevelopment of the Cuddyside area north of the High Street, which proved to be a very contentious issue.

The 1970s saw the rate of private housing in the county increase with development in Peebles, at Edderston Road, Bonnington Road and Gallowhill, at St. Ronan’s Terrace, Well’s Brae and Leithen Road in Innerleithen and at Bogsbank Road and Linton Bank Drive in West Linton.  The increasing pressure for housing at West Linton, including proposals for a major housing development at ‘The Hiddles’, would lead to the establishment, in 1973, of the West Linton Residents Association, which would become an influential pressure group and a strong voice over the coming years against the further expansion of West Linton.  In Peebles, the proposed re-development of Damdale Mill and Damcroft for private housing would prove contentious.  Eventually purchased by the town council, this area would be re-developed for rented housing by the SSHA.  In response to proposals to widen Cuddy Bridge at the west end of the High Street and demolish “Bank House”, Peebles Civic Society was born in 1973 with the intention of creating a local organisation that would protect and enhance the Burgh’s built environment.

As local government re-organisation drew closer, proposals for private housing were made in such diverse locations as Eddleston, Romanno Bridge, Broughton and Blyth Bridge as well as Peebles, Innerleithen and West Linton.  Proposals for three sites on Station Road, West Linton, which were refused planning permission, would have trebled the population of the village.  The number of planning applications jumped from an average of 150 per annum in the 1960s (146 in 1970) to over 230 in 1973.  The population of Peebles increased by 500 persons between 1964 and 1974 as a result of its attraction as a retirement location and with Edinburgh commuters.  Housing would be a major issue for the new Borders Regional Council with pressure for more development at West Linton, Eddleston and south of the River Tweed in Peebles.

 

Development Management: March 2019 Update

During March 2019, the Scottish Borders Council received some 150 applications for planning permission and other consents, including listed building and conservation area consents and applications for works to protected trees.  Perhaps the most significant application received relates to a proposed leisure development comprising 180 holiday lodges and associated facilities at Rutherford House, near West Linton in Peeblesshire (SBC Ref: 19/00153/FUL).  A leisure development comprising 263 holiday lodges, 206 touring caravan pitches, 15 tree houses and 20 glamping pods and including a new leisure/clubhouse facility with swimming pool, gym, Jacuzzi etc. was the subject of a Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) in February 2018 (18/00109/PAN).  Following public consultation, including exhibitions in April 2018 attended by almost 200 people, the proposals have been significantly reduced in an attempt to address the issues raised.  The number of lodges has been reduced from 263 to 180 and all the other forms of holiday accommodation have been removed.  The proposed village centre has been drastically reduced with the loss of facilities such as the bowling alley, cinema and hot food takeaway.  The proposed spa facility has been removed and the pub and restaurant provision scaled down.  It is early days in the processing of the planning application and it will be interesting to see if the changes made satisfy the concerns of the local community.

Elsewhere, a planning application for the change of house types and variation of the layout of a proposed development of twenty houses on a site at Horsburgh Ford, east of Peebles and close to the Macdonald Cardrona Hotel, was received on 7 March (SBC Ref: 00332/FUL).  Planning permission was originally granted in October 2015 (SBC Ref: 14/00666/FUL).  In Stow, Stow Community Trust proposes to convert the former station house into a bistro and community facility including a bicycle repair workshop (SBC Ref: 19/00406/FUL).  The project has planning approval (SBC Ref: 18/00318/FUL) but the design of the proposed extension has been revised to better reflect the traditional design of the existing building.  At Camptown, south of Jedburgh, the owner of the property ‘Glenacre’ is seeking, once again, to obtain a Certificate of Lawfulness for the use of the property as a dwellinghouse (SBC Ref: 19/00339/CLEU).  The refusal of a previous application was upheld on appeal to the Scottish Government (DPEA Ref: CLUD-140-2002) and it will be interesting to see if this attempt is successful.

Check out the council’s Public Access Portal if you want to find out more about the above applications or any other application submitted in the past month.

During March, some 140 planning applications were determined by the Chief Planning Officer under delegated powers.  Only three applications were refused planning permission: two applications for the erection of dwellinghouses on plots A & B on land south of ‘The Granary’ at Blyth Bridge in Peeblesshire (SBC Refs: 19/00023/PPP & 19/00025/PPP), and an application for the erection of a dwellinghouse at Cowdenknowes, near Earlston (SBC Ref: 18/00599/FUL).  The Chief Planning Officer considered that none of the proposed dwellinghouses complied with the council’s housing in the countryside policy.  There have been differences of opinion, in the past, between the Chief Planning Officer and the Planning and Building Standards Committee on how this policy should be interpreted and it is to be seen whether these decisions will be tested by appeal to the council’s Local Review Body.

On 4 March, the Planning and Building Standards Committee made three somewhat controversial decisions.  Planning permission was granted, against the wishes of many people in Peebles, for the erection of 71 dwellinghouses on land south of South Parks Industrial Estate (SBC Ref: 18/01026/FUL).  Although the site is allocated for housing in the adopted local development plan, the number of houses proposed exceeds the indicative capacity shown in the plan.  As well as concerns about the effect on residential amenity, perhaps the principal concern amongst the local population was the impact of traffic generated by the development on the road system, particularly Caledonian Road.  These concerns raise wider issues regarding the capacity of the existing Tweed Bridge and the mini-roundabout at the end of High Street to cope with the traffic generated by continued housing development south of the River Tweed.  Further housing development south of the Tweed and the provision of a second river crossing are matters raised in the Main Issues Report in connection with the review of the local development plan.  However, it will be the end of this year (2019) before the new local development plan (LDP2) is completed.  Many people in the local community question the desirability of allowing further development south of the river until these matters are resolved.

On the 4 March, the Planning and Building Standards Committee also granted planning permission for the erection of four dwellinghouses on the site of existing garages at Heriotfield, Oxton, near Lauder much to the ire of local residents who objected to the loss of the garages and to the impact of the new houses on their privacy and amenity (SBC Ref: 18/00910/FUL).  The third decision of the Committee related to proposed storage and distribution buildings, and ancillary dwellinghouse, for Border Mix Ltd on land near the Old Creamery, Dolphinton, near Biggar (SBC Ref: 18/01377/FUL).  Planning permission was refused, for a second time, on the grounds that it had not been demonstrated that there were any over-riding economic and/or operational reasons for the siting of this proposed development in the countryside.  The previous refusal of planning permission, in August 2017, was the subject of an appeal to the Scottish Government but, in January 2018, the appeal was dismissed (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2063).  The intention of the applicant is to relocate the business from its present location within Dolphinton village and the applicant hoped that the additional information provided would show that all other possibilities have been exhausted.  However, the Committee considered that alternative sites had not been thoroughly investigated.  It will be interesting to see what the applicant does next: another appeal or another site?

At its meeting on 25 March, the Planning and Building Standards Committee approved a three years extension to the commencement time period of planning consent 09/01043/FUL, which relates to alterations to Gattonside House, near Melrose, to form 15 flats and the erection of 44 dwellinghouses and flats and a village shop in the grounds.  At the same meeting, the Committee granted planning and listed building consent for two alternative schemes of internal and external alterations to Castle Venlaw Hotel in Peebles to form 11 flats, subject to clearance from Scottish Ministers.

On 18 March, the Local Review Body (LRB) reversed the decision of the Chief Planning Officer to refuse planning permission for an extension to the storage units at Farknowes, Langshaw Road, Galashiels to provide an additional 7 workshop units and 1 unit to provide a dog day care facility and a dog exercise area (SBC Ref: 18/00040/RREF).  The LRB also reversed the decision of the Chief Planning Officer to refuse planning permission for the change of use of Redburn Garage, Peebles Road, Galashiels to a joiner’s workshop and showroom, caravan repairs and sales, car valet, retail and siting of catering unit (SBC Ref: 19/00004/RREF).  Although the business, which was in operation, comprised five different uses, the LRB considered that there was little significant difference between the previous use of the site and the proposed uses.  The LRB also reversed the decision of the Chief Planning Officer to refuse planning permission for the change of use of the Mansfield Bar in Hawick into a residential flat (SBC Ref: 19/00002/RREF) and his decision to refuse planning permission for replacement windows to the property ‘Sunnybrae’ in Midlem (SBC Ref: 19/00003/RREF).  Not a very successful meeting for the Chief Planning Officer!

In relation to appeals to the Scottish Government, an appeal against the refusal of listed building consent for the installation of replacement windows in ‘The Honey House’, Longformacus in Berwickshire, was submitted on 28 February (DPEA Ref: LBA-140-2005).  The Honey House is a category C listed building, forming part of a row of cottages, many of which are also listed.  The proposed uPVC replacement windows would copy the glazing pattern and method of opening of the current traditional timber sash and case windows.  However, the Chief Planning Officer considered that the existing windows, which are on the principal elevation of the property, appeared to be in a reasonable state and could be repaired and the proposal would introduce an inferior product.  Listed building consent was refused on 22 January 2019 (SBC Ref: 18/01627/LBC).

Four other appeals remain outstanding: (1) the appeal against the serving of an Enforcement Notice alleging the use of the property ‘Greenloaning’ on The Loan, West Linton for short stay visitor accommodation (SBC Ref: 18/00074/UNUSE; DPEA Ref: ENA-140-2013); (2) & (3) the appeals against the non-determination of the planning applications for the redevelopment of the March Street Mills site in Peebles for residential units (SBC Ref: 17/00063/PPP & 17/00064/CON); and (4) the appeal against the refusal of planning permission for the construction of a wind farm comprising 7 turbines up to 132 metres high to tip height on land at Barrel Law, north west of Roberton (SBC Ref: 17/01255/FUL) (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2072).

Two wind farm applications submitted to the Scottish Government under Section 36 of the 1989 Act, to which the Scottish Borders Council has objected, remained outstanding: (1) the application for a 12 turbine extension to the existing Fallago Rig wind farm in the Lammermuir Hills; and (2) the application to extend the operational life of the existing Fallago Rig wind farm to coincide with that of the extension (if approved) (DPEA case references WIN-140-5 & WIN-140-6).  The reports on these appeals have been with Scottish Ministers since July last year (2018).

 

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: 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.