Development Management: October 2019 Update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In relation to appeals to the Scottish Government, two appeals remain outstanding: (i) the long-standing appeal against the refusal of planning permission for the construction of a wind farm comprising 7 turbines up to 132 metres high to tip height on land at Barrel Law, north west of Roberton (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2072); and (ii) the appeal against the erection of 7 wind turbines at Gilston Hill, near Heriot, which has been returned to the Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) to re-determine following a successful challenge to the Court of Session to the Reporter’s decision, dated 7 February 2019, to approve the application (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2068-1).

Two wind farm applications submitted to the Scottish Government under Section 36 of the 1989 Act, to which the Scottish Borders Council has also objected, remain outstanding: (1) the application for a 12 turbine extension to the existing Fallago Rig wind farm in the Lammermuir Hills; and (2) the application to extend the operational life of the existing Fallago Rig wind farm to coincide with that of the extension (if approved) (DPEA case references WIN-140-5 & WIN-140-6).  The reports on these appeals have been with Scottish Ministers since July last year (2018).  Following the receipt of objections from Scottish Borders Council in April 2019, an inquiry is to be held in relation on an application for an expansion of the Crystal Rig Wind Farm in the Lammermuirs, comprising the addition of 11 turbines to the existing 90 turbines (DPEA Ref: WIN-140-8).

Development Management: September 2019 Update

During September 2019, the Scottish Borders Council received some 120 applications for planning permission and other consents, including listed building and conservation area consents and applications for works to protected trees.  The vast majority related to the erection of single dwellinghouses and alterations and extensions to dwellinghouses.  Large scale developments are few and far between at the moment, a reflection of the general malaise in the building industry.

At the southern fringes of the region, in Newcastleton, the Newcastleton & District Community Trust (NDCT) has plans to restore and secure the re-use of Buccleuch House in the centre of the village, built in c.1850 by the Duke of the Buccleuch for community use (see SBC Ref: 19/01315/FUL).  It has been used as a club house, meeting rooms, a craft & resource centre and as a home to a small enterprise.  However, over time it has fallen into disrepair and needs a complete overhaul.  The NCDT plans to upgrade the building to provide, on the upper floor, bunkhouse accommodation for between 10-16 people to cater for the growing walking/cycling market.  On the ground floor, there would be a learning centre, meeting rooms and office space.  It is also proposed to provide on the land attached, a community laundry and secure bike lockers.  Newcastleton Business Forum wholly supports the project but objections, as well as letters of support, have been submitted and it will be interesting to see how this application progresses.

At the northern fringes of the region, in Peeblesshire, another interesting application relates to the erection of 15 huts on land east of Wester Deans, near West Linton (SBC Ref: 19/01256/FUL).  The applicant, Urban Animation, has obtained planning permission for similar developments at Saline and Falkland in Fife in support of the 1000 Huts Campaign launched in 2011 in response to a growing demand from a wide range of people to revitalise the hutting culture in Scotland.  In July 2017, the Scottish Government adopted new Building Regulations to enable hut building without a building warrant.  Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) defines a hut as “A simple building used intermittently as recreational accommodation (i.e. not a principle residence); having an internal floor area of no more than 30m²; constructed from low impact materials; generally not connected to mains water, electricity or sewerage; and built in such a way that it is removable with little or no trace at the end of its life.  Huts may be built singly or in groups”.

The application site forms part of North Clioch Wood and extends to some 5 acres.  Formerly a Forestry Commission Sitka spruce plantation, the site was cleared in 2009 and sold to the current owner, who has undertaken a replanting programme to create a mixed woodland.  Fifteen huts are proposed, each located within a 20 metre square plot, served by a group car parking area.  The huts would be finished with natural timber boarding, have a rectilinear shape and pitched roof finished in green recycled cellulose sheeting.  Heating would be from a wood burning stove; there would be no electricity supply but PV cells could be used to generate low voltage electricity for lighting.  Dry composting toilets would be located in each hut; no mains drainage or septic tank is proposed.  There would be no public water supply to the site.

It will be interesting to see what the local community and council officials make of this somewhat novel proposal for, if approved, there may well be a demand for further similar developments in this part of the Scottish Borders where, in the past, hut sites have been widespread and common-place and still exist at Eddleston, Soonhope, near Peebles and Carlops.

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 September, some 120 applications were determined by the Chief Planning Officer under delegated powers.  Again, the vast majority related to the erection of single dwellinghouses or to alterations and extensions to dwellinghouses.  One proposal perhaps stands out; the conversion of Castle Venlaw Hotel in Peebles into residential apartments.  On 6 September, the Chief Planning Officer issued planning consent for the partial demolition and conversion of Castle Venlaw Hotel into eight residential apartments and the erection of three flats in the grounds (SBC Ref: 18/01287/FUL & 18/01286/LBC), known as scheme 2, which had been approved by the Planning and Building Standards Committee in March.  A simultaneous application for listed building consent for internal and external alterations to the building to form 11 residential apartments, known as scheme 1 (SBC Ref: 18/00181/LBC) had been referred to Scottish Ministers for determination because of objections from Historic Environment Scotland but this application has now been withdrawn.

Eight applications were refused planning permission by the Chief Planning Officer under delegated powers in September: (i) an application for the erection of two dwellinghouses on land north-east of 10 Railway Court, Newtown St. Boswells (SBC Ref: 19/01146/PPP); (ii) the demolition of an existing dwellinghouse and erection of a replacement dwellinghouse at Woodside Farm, Kelso (SBC Ref: 19/00965/FUL); (iii) the erection of a dwellinghouse at Newton Farm, Jedburgh (SBC Ref: 19/00874/FUL); (iv) the erection of a fence at Denholm Mill, Denholm (SBC Ref: 19/00857/FUL); (v) the erection of a dwellinghouse at Carlenrig Farm, Teviothead, Hawick (SBC Ref: 19/00514/FUL); (vi) the erection of a dwellinghouse at Stow Road, Lauder (SBC Ref: 18/01766/PPP); (vii) the installation of replacement windows at 5-1 Sandbed, Hawick (SBC Ref: 19/00203/FUL); and (viii) the formation of a bus depot at Rhymers Avenue, Earlston (SBC Ref: 18/01018/FUL).

At its meeting on 2 September, the Planning and Building Standards Committee refused two major applications: (i) the development of a holiday park comprising 52 holiday lodges, reception/shop and office on land north west of Willowdean House, Foulden in Berwickshire (SBC Ref: 18/01479/FUL).  The proposal had attracted a great deal of objection and, although the Chief Planning Officer had recommended that the application be approved subject to 15 conditions, the Planning and Building Standards Committee decided to refuse planning permission (by a vote of 6 to 2) on the grounds that the proposed holiday lodges were not of the highest quality, were not in keeping with the local environment and would have an unacceptable adverse impact on local roads.  As a result, the proposed development would be inconsistent with the landscape characteristics of the area and would lead to unacceptable adverse impacts on pedestrian and road safety.  The Committee also refused planning permission for the erection of 57 dwellinghouses on land north east of Berwickshire High School in Duns (SBC Ref: 18/01635/FUL).  The southern half of the site is located within the 1 in 200 year functional floodplain and the eastern part of the site is also at the risk from flooding from an existing culvert and run-off from the main road (the A6105).  The Committee also considered that the proposals were over-engineered and did not create a clear sense of place; the external materials proposed were inappropriate; and there was inadequate landscaping to integrate the development with its surroundings.

The Planning and Building Standards Committee did, however, approve plans for the multi-million pound hotel, petrol station with food kiosk and drive-through café at Tweedbank, against the wishes of many hoteliers in Melrose.  The Borders Gateway development comprises a 71 bed Premier Inn, a BP petrol station and Marks & Spence food kiosk and Costa Coffee drive-through café (SBC Ref: 18/01520/FUL).  The original proposals had also included a large discount food retail unit but this was removed in response to objections and concerns about the impact on existing town centres.  Attracting a Premier Inn to the region has been an ambition of the council for some time and although the Galashiels community would have preferred a site in Galashiels, a site at Tweedbank has the advantage of good road and rail access.  The proposals attracted over 177 supporting comments and only 15 objections.  Councillors considered that the proposed hotel would cater for a different market to the hotels in Melrose.  Although the Chairman of the committee voiced concerns that the site occupied land identified for business and office purposes and moved that the application be refused, the committee voted by 6 votes to 2 votes to approve the application as per the Chief Planning Officer’s recommendation.

The Planning and Building Standards Committee also made a somewhat contentious decision in respect of a condition attached to the erection of a dwellinghouse in the village of Heiton, near Kelso (SBC Ref: 19/00593/FUL).  The condition, attached to a planning permission granted in April 2016, required that an existing right of way which passes along the northern side of the site be maintained open and free from obstruction in the course of development and in perpetuity and shall not form part of the curtilage of the property.  No stiles, gates, steps or barriers to access should be erected to deter or hinder future pedestrian, horse rider or cyclist use.  However, large gates have been fitted at either end of the path through the house site and CCTV cameras monitor its use.  The application requested the removal of the condition from the planning consent and the applicant argued that it was not a relevant planning matter; rights of way are protected in terms of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003.  Much to the consternation of many local residents and users of the path, the committee approved the application to remove the planning condition on the grounds that rights of way legislation exists to uphold public access rights and there was no longer a planning purpose of the condition.  However, the committee reiterated that the removal of the condition does not alter the status of the claimed right of way and should not be regarded as support of any proposal to extinguish and divert the path, which would require a separate request under the Land Reform Act.  Watch this space!

The Local Review Body on 16 September considered three appeals against the Chief Planning Officer’s decision to refuse planning permission.  The LRB overturned the officer’s decision and granted planning permission for the erection of three holiday lodges at Hallrule Farm Cottage, Bonchester Bridge (SBC Ref: 18/01680/FUL).  The LRB upheld the officer’s decision to refuse planning permission for the erection of a dwellinghouse at The Rest, Murrayfield, St. Abbs in Berwickshire (SBC Ref: 18/01654/FUL) and for the use of land at Milkieston Toll House, Peebles as a dog walking facility (SBC Ref: 18/01161/FUL).

In relation to appeals to the Scottish Government, much to the annoyance of householders at Coopersknowe, Galashiels, the appeal by Eildon Housing Association, for the erection of 69 dwelling units at Coopersknowe, Galashiels was upheld on 25 September (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2075).  Some compensation for Eildon for the loss of its appeal against the refusal of planning permission for 40 flats at Tweedbridge, Peebles?

Two other appeals remain outstanding: (i) the long-standing appeal against the refusal of planning permission for the construction of a wind farm comprising 7 turbines up to 132 metres high to tip height on land at Barrel Law, north west of Roberton (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2072); and (ii) the appeal against the erection of 7 wind turbines at Gilston Hill, near Heriot, which has been returned to the Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) to re-determine following a successful challenge to the Court of Session to the Reporter’s decision, dated 7 February 2019, to approve the application (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2068-1).

Two wind farm applications submitted to the Scottish Government under Section 36 of the 1989 Act, to which the Scottish Borders Council has also objected, remain outstanding: (1) the application for a 12 turbine extension to the existing Fallago Rig wind farm in the Lammermuir Hills; and (2) the application to extend the operational life of the existing Fallago Rig wind farm to coincide with that of the extension (if approved) (DPEA case references WIN-140-5 & WIN-140-6).  The reports on these appeals have been with Scottish Ministers since July last year (2018).  Following the receipt of objections from Scottish Borders Council in April 2019, an inquiry is to be held in relation on an application for an expansion of the Crystal Rig Wind Farm in the Lammermuirs, comprising the addition of 11 turbines to the existing 90 turbines (DPEA Ref: WIN-140-8).

 

Development Management: August 2019 update

During August 2019, the Scottish Borders Council received some 120 applications for planning permission and other consents, including listed building and conservation area consents and applications for works to protected trees.  Large scale developments are few and far between at the moment, a reflection of the general malaise in the building industry.

In Kelso, a planning application has now been submitted for the change of use and conversion of the former High School to form 34 Extra Care flats and the erection of 47 dwellinghouses on the grounds (SBC Ref: 19/01244/FUL).  The proposal was the subject of pre-application consultation (PAN) in November 2018.  The public drop-in event held on 22 November 2018 was attended by over 40 people and the proposal, including the introduction of private housing, appears to have been well received.  The extra care housing, by Eildon Housing Association, will be 100% affordable housing for rent part funded by the Scottish Government and Scottish Borders Council.

In Peebles, a Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) has been submitted for the development of 22 houses on land at Venlaw Farm to the east of Edinburgh Road (SBC Ref: 19/01239/PAN).  The proposal differs from the previously refused application in that it is intended to be a full application with details of the layout, house positions and house types.  The proposed public event that is required as part of the pre-application consultation process is to be held in the Peebles Burgh Hall on 25 September.  Watch out for the advert in the Peeblesshire News, which must be posted at least 7 days in advance of the public event.

Also in Peeblesshire, an application has been submitted for a screening and scoping opinion to assess the requirement for an Environmental Impact Assessment in relation to a proposed extension to Edston Quarry, west of Peebles (SBC Ref: 19/01180/SCR & 19/01180/SCO).  The proposal is to extend the life of the quarry for around 22 years with restoration.   It will be for officers of the council to decide whether an EIA is required in respect of this major development and the issues that any EIA should address.  A Proposal of Application (PAN) will be submitted in due course setting out a scheme of public consultation on the proposals, including a public consultation event.

At the western extremity of the region, close to Biggar, a proposal to convert Hartree House back to a hotel is causing concern amongst immediate neighbours for a number of reasons, principally the lack of an adequate access and noise from the existing permitted use as a wedding venue (SBC Ref: 19/01116/FUL).  A small housing development that is causing concern amongst the local community is the proposal for the erection of 4 dwellinghouses at The Orchard in Newstead, Melrose (SBC Ref: 19/01138/FUL).  A variety of concerns have been expressed in relation to the design and layout of the houses, the loss of trees and the protection of historic features on this site within a historic conservation village.  In Denholm, a proposal for the erection of 12 dwellinghouses at Jedward Terrace is also causing some consternation amongst neighbouring householders (SBC Ref: 19/01135/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 August, some 120 applications were determined by the Chief Planning Officer under delegated powers.  Again, the vast majority related to the erection of single dwellinghouses or to alterations and extensions to dwellinghouses.  A particularly significant decision for the local community, after over a year’s deliberation, is the granting of planning permission and listed building consent for the partial demolition, internal and external alterations and extension to the former Crook Inn in Peeblesshire to form a community hub comprising café, office and ancillary facilities, and bunkhouse (SBC Ref: 18/01342/FUL).  Let’s hope that this community initiative is successful and it is not too long before the plan is implemented.  I shall look forward to visiting the new hub in this beautiful part of the Tweed Valley.

Only two applications were refused planning permission by the Chief Planning Officer under delegated powers in August: an application for listed building consent to demolish a 19th century cart shed and former granary building at Winfield Farm in Berwickshire on the grounds that it had not been demonstrated that the building could not be retained (SBC Ref: 19/00479/LBC); and an application for the erection of two dwellinghouses in Heriot village on the grounds that the siting and design of the houses is unsympathetic to the surroundings and the inadequacy of the access (SBC Ref: 18/01777/FUL).  At its meeting on 5 August, the Planning and Building Standards Committee also refused planning permission for two dwellinghouses at The Granary, Blyth Bridge in Peeblesshire on the grounds that the proposed houses did not relate sympathetically to the character of the surrounding landscape (SBC Ref: 19/00758/PPP & 19/00759/PPP).  The Committee granted planning permission for the erection of seven dwellinghouses at Orchard Park, Gattonside, Melrose (SBC Ref: 18/01795/FUL).

The Local Review Body (LRB) on 19 August considered a number of appeals against the Chief Planning Officer’s decision to refuse planning permission.  The LRB overturned the officer’s decision and granted planning permission for the following proposals: the erection of four dwellinghouses on land at Thornwood Lodge, Weensland Road, Hawick (SBC Ref: 18/01671/FUL); and the reinstatement of two windows in lieu of air conditioning units at Deans Bar, 3 Orrock Place, Hawick (SBC Ref: 17/01368/FUL).  The LRB upheld the officer’s decision to refuse planning permission for: the erection of a dwellinghouse at Beechwood, Pyatshaw, Lauder (SBC Ref: 19/00358/PPP); the erection of a dwellinghouse at Lilybrooke, West Flemington, Eyemouth (SBC Ref: 19/00330/FUL); the erection of a porch at 2 Deloraine Court, Hawick (SBC Ref: 19/00386/FUL)

In relation to appeals to the Scottish Government, it will be no surprise that the appeal against the council’s refusal of a request to issue a Certificate of Lawful Existing Use in respect of the residential use of the property ‘Glenacre’ at Camptown, south of Jedburgh has been upheld (SBC Ref: 19/00339/CLEU; DPEA Ref: CLUD-140-2003).  In deciding to grant a certificate of lawful use for residential purposes, the Reporter was satisfied that there was comprehensive and consistent evidence that the B&B/guest house use ceased at the end of 2013, and that the property had been in residential use in excess of fours since the B&B/guest house use ceased.

Two other appeals remain outstanding: (i) an appeal in relation to the proposal, by Eildon Housing Association, for the erection of 69 dwelling units at Coopersknowe, Galashiels (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2075) and (ii) 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).  The appeal against the erection of 7 wind turbines at Gilston Hill, near Heriot has been returned to the Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) to re-determine the appeal following a successful challenge to the Court of Session to the Reporter’s decision, dated 7 February 2019, to approve the application (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2068).

Two wind farm applications submitted to the Scottish Government under Section 36 of the 1989 Act, to which the Scottish Borders Council has also objected, remain outstanding: (1) the application for a 12 turbine extension to the existing Fallago Rig wind farm in the Lammermuir Hills; and (2) the application to extend the operational life of the existing Fallago Rig wind farm to coincide with that of the extension (if approved) (DPEA case references WIN-140-5 & WIN-140-6).  The reports on these appeals have been with Scottish Ministers since July last year (2018).  Following the receipt of objections from Scottish Borders Council in April 2019, an inquiry is to be held in relation on an application for an expansion of the Crystal Rig Wind Farm in the Lammermuirs, comprising the addition of 11 turbines to the existing 90 turbines (DPEA Ref: WIN-140-8).

 

Development Management: July 2019 Update

During July 2019, the Scottish Borders Council received some 140 applications for planning permission and other consents, including listed building and conservation area consents and applications for works to protected trees, of which there were 19 applications; a considerable workload for the council’s solitary Tree Officer.  The vast majority of applications, however, related to the erection of single dwellinghouses or to alterations and extensions to dwellinghouses.  Large scale developments are few and far between at the moment, a reflection of the general malaise in the building industry.

In the Central Borders, an innovative proposal, submitted for land west of the Toyota Garage at St. Boswells, involves the provision of a demonstration area for electric and driverless cars (SBC Ref: 19/00945/FUL).  I wonder how long it will be before we see such cars on Border roads?  Next, we’ll be putting them on rails!

In Hawick, proposals have been put forward for the replacement of the Lawson footbridge, near the High School (SBC Ref: 19/01080/FUL) and Victoria Bridge on Commercial Road (SBC Ref: 19/01081/FUL).  Both are related to the flood protection works planned for Hawick and to the proposed 2.5m wide cycleway through the town, part funded by SUSTRANS.  Other works include the replacement of Mansfield Bridge (SBC Ref: 19/01083/FUL) and the creation of a pedestrian/cycle underpass at Waverley Bridge (SBC Ref: 19/01082/FUL).

In Jedburgh, proposals to demolish property at the corner of Exchange Street and High Street are causing a stir (SBC Ref: 19/01063/LBC).  The property, encased in scaffolding for some time, is now considered unfit for rehabilitation and renovation [not fit for purpose is the modern term!].  Is this the prospect for other properties in town centres such as Jedburgh or can the council’s attempts to preserve the viability and vitality of town centres also revive the run-down traditional buildings of many Border town centres.

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 July, some 130 applications were determined by the Chief Planning Officer under delegated powers.  Again, the vast majority related to the erection of single dwellinghouses or to alterations and extensions to dwellinghouses.  The development of affordable housing in the Scottish Borders continues to expand with the granting of planning permission for the erection of 49 affordable dwellinghouses on land at Angraflat Road, Kelso (SBC Ref: 19/00185/FUL) and for the erection of 50 affordable houses on land south and west of Ayton Primary School in Ayton, Berwickshire (SBC Ref: 18/01804/FUL).

Residents in Coopersknowe and Melrose Gait may not be entirely happy with the grant of planning permission for the permanent retention of the 82 storage containers located at Farknowes on the Langshaw Road, Galashiels (SBC Ref: 19/00839/FUL).  The original temporary consent, which expires on 19 September 2019, was imposed to allow the impact of the development on the road system to be monitored.  In granting consent, the Chief Planning Officer considered that there were no grounds for refusing the permanent retention of the containers in respect of visual amenity or impact on the road system, subject to the submission of a maintenance scheme for the containers and a tree planting scheme.  It will be interesting to see if these conditions are properly and effectively imposed and implemented; an on-going issue when planning permissions are granted subject to conditions that require future action.

Five applications were refused planning permission by the Chief Planning Officer under delegated powers in July; three related to the erection of single dwellinghouses: at Eshiels House, Eshiels, Peebles (SBC Ref: 19/00694/FUL); at Hoprigshiel Farmhouse, Cockburnspath (SBC Ref: 19/00590/FUL); and at Dundas Cottage, Selkirk (SBC Ref: 19/00521/AMC).  One was related to the extension of a dwellinghouse at 30 Mossilee Crescent, Galashiels (SBC Ref: 19/00787/FUL).  In Hawick, Planning permission was refused for the use of the former gas works building on Mansfield Road as a hot food takeaway (SBC Ref: 19/00504/FUL).  The site is outwith the town centre within a Safeguarded Employment Zone.

At its meeting on 1 July, the Planning and Building Standards Committee, somewhat controversially, granted planning permission for the erection of 28 dwellinghouses on land at The Croft, Dingleton Road, Melrose, much to the consternation of many local residents (SBC Ref: 18/01385/FUL) [there had been over 130 objections].  Whilst many members of the Committee expressed reservations about the scale and design of the proposed development, only one member spoke against it.  The site is allocated for housing development in the current local development plan with an indicative capacity of 25 dwellings [a previous planning brief for the site indicated the site had a capacity for some 45 dwellings but the Reporter who examined objections to the current local development plan in 2016 reduced this figure to 25 dwellings].  Nevertheless, the design and layout of the development was a matter for the Planning and Building Standards Committee to decide upon.  Although concerns were raised regarding the visual impact of this proposal on the slopes of the Eildon Hills, a National Scenic Area, and the impact of traffic on Dingleton Road, the Committee were satisfied that the proposed development was acceptable.

In relation to appeals to the Scottish Government, the appeal against the erection of 7 wind turbines at Gilston Hill, near Heriot has been returned to the Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) to re-determine the appeal following a successful challenge to the Court of Session to the Reporter’s decision, dated 7 February 2019, to approve the application (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2068).  The Reporter’s decision to uphold the enforcement notice against the change of use of the property ‘Greenloaning’ on the Loan, West Linton from a residential dwelling to short-stay commercial visitor accommodation, dated 25 April 2019, has also been challenged with an appeal to the Court of Session.  Watch this space for further news!

Much to the surprise and satisfaction of the local community, the 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, was dismissed on 23 July (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2076).  In dismissing the appeal, the Reporter considered that the overall height and mass of the proposed buildings and the urbanised character of the development would contrast starkly with its setting and the wider character and appearance of the Peebles Conservation Area.  The Reporter concluded that the design and scale of the proposal was inappropriate in this location.  Consequently, although the proposed development would make an important contribution to affordable housing provision and the site was a brownfield site allocated for residential development, the Reporter considered that the proposed development would appear incongruous in this location and detract from the character and appearance of the riverside area of the town.

Three other appeals remain outstanding: (i) an appeal in relation to the council’s refusal of a request to issue a Certificate of Lawful Existing Use in respect of the residential use of the property ‘Glenacre’ at Camptown, south of Jedburgh (SBC Ref: 19/00339/CLEU; DPEA Ref: CLUD-140-2003); (ii) an appeal in relation to the proposal, 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 was held on 6 August in the Forman Hall, Roberton, commencing at 10.00am.  Closing submissions are expected by 21 August.

Two wind farm applications submitted to the Scottish Government under Section 36 of the 1989 Act, to which the Scottish Borders Council has also objected, remain outstanding: (1) the application for a 12 turbine extension to the existing Fallago Rig wind farm in the Lammermuir Hills; and (2) the application to extend the operational life of the existing Fallago Rig wind farm to coincide with that of the extension (if approved) (DPEA case references WIN-140-5 & WIN-140-6).  The reports on these appeals have been with Scottish Ministers since July last year (2018).  Following the receipt of objections from Scottish Borders Council in April 2019, an inquiry is to be held in relation on an application for an expansion of the Crystal Rig Wind Farm in the Lammermuirs, comprising the addition of 11 turbines to the existing 90 turbines (DPEA Ref: WIN-140-8).

 

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).