Development Management: December 2019 Update

During December 2019, the Scottish Borders Council received some 100 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.

Wind farm applications still catch the eye.  On 23 December, an application was received for a Screening Opinion on the necessity for an Environmental Impact Assessment of a proposal to extend the operational life of the Dun Law Wind Farm, near Oxton, for a further 12 years from 2022 to allow the joint decommissioning of the Dun Law Wind Farm with the Windfarm Extension, planning permission for which expires in 2034 (SBC Ref: 19/01820/SCR).  There seems every likelihood that the planning permission for the Dun Law Wind Farm will be extended and it will be interesting to see where we are with sustainable energy generation in 2034 and what the future holds for Dun Law beyond that date.  Will it ever return to open moorland?

An interesting proposal at Tweedbank comprises the erection of a factory for light industrial use by Cademuir Engineering of Selkirk, which is sited on a previously designated greenfield site forming part of the landscaped and planted strip between Tweedbank industrial estate and the A6091 (SBC Ref: 19/01761/SPZ).  This landscape strip, a segment of which has already been cleared close to the Darnlee roundabout for the proposed Premier Inn development, was a fundamental part of the original Tweedbank scheme but is gradually being eroded by development.  According to the Chief Planning Officer, the proposed development is of a type permitted by the designated Tweedbank Special Planning Zone.

In the small village of Oxton, north of Lauder, an application to change the use of the ground floor of the Tower Hotel to offices is causing a stir amongst locals (SBC Ref: 19/01727/FUL).  The hotel closed in May 2019 and the dining room, lounge and bar have been used as offices.  Apparently, the owner was not aware that planning permission for a change of use was required.  Refusal of planning permission would not, of itself, result in the return of the licenced premises to the village and it will be interesting to see how this matter develops.  Could the recently established community development company, which has established a community shop in the village following the closure of the village shop, do the same for the pub?

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, a similar number of 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.  Perhaps the most eye-catching consent granted by the Chief Planning Officer under delegated powers is the amended proposal by Eildon Housing Association for the erection of 2 blocks of residential flats comprising 22 housing units at Dukehaugh, Peebles (SBC Ref: 19/01471/FUL).  Readers might remember that a proposal for 2 blocks comprising 40 units was refused planning permission by the Planning and Building Standards Committee on 4 February 2019 although the Chief Planning Officer had recommended approval.  The Chief Executive of Eildon Housing was most put-out at this decision and immediately lodged an appeal to the Scottish Ministers.  However, the Reporter appointed to consider the appeal, after considering all the evidence submitted for and against the proposal, dismissed the appeal on 23 July 2019 and refused to grant planning permission.  On dismissing the appeal, the Reporter considered that the proposal would have a detracting influence on the distinctive character and appearance of the Peebles riverside and appear incongruous on account of the incompatibility of the design and scale of the proposed buildings.

The amended proposal is for a reduced number of residential units and a storey has been removed from the two blocks.  The buildings are slimmer and set further back from the river.  The roof design is simpler with pitched roofs finished in slate.  Areas of stone cladding have been introduced.  Whilst the original scheme generated some 150 objections, the amended proposal has generated none. No third-party objections were received.  Accordingly, the Chief Planning Officer has granted planning permission without recourse to the Planning and Building Standards Committee even though the original scheme was decided by the committee and was the subject of an appeal.  Although there were no apparent objections to the amended proposal, some readers might find this somewhat surprising given the history of the site.

In Denholm, planning permission has been granted for the erection of 12 dwellinghouses at Jedward Terrace although objections were received from neighbouring householders and the community council (SBC Ref: 19/01135/FUL).  Notwithstanding the objections, the Chief Planning Officer considered that, although the site lies outwith the development boundary and the approval would set a degree of precedent, the proposed development was an ‘exceptional’ development comprising affordable housing.

Four applications were refused planning permission by the Chief Planning Officer under delegated powers in December: (i) an application for the erection of a dwellinghouse at Greenbraehead, Hawick (SBC Ref: 19/01533/FUL); (ii) the erection of a dwellinghouse at Dodlands, Hawick (SBC Ref: 19/01358/PPP); (iii) the demolition of a dwellinghouse and erection of two dwellinghouses at Benrig, Cuddyside, Peebles (SBC Ref: 19/00193/FUL); and (iv) the installation of replacement windows at 10 Exchange Street, Jedburgh (SBC Ref: 19/01091/FUL).

At its meeting on 9 December, the Planning and Building Standards Committee granted planning permission for the conversion of Hartree House, near Biggar on the western fringes of the region, into a hotel despite objections from neighbours (SBC Ref: 19/01116/FUL).  Previously a hotel, it closed almost 20 years ago, but has been a venue for weddings since 2016 and objectors cited inadequate access and water supply as reasons for refusing its re-use as a hotel.  Nevertheless, the Chief Planning Officer was satisfied with the proposal subject to confirmation that a satisfactory water supply could be provided, that a satisfactory drainage system was in operation, that satisfactory access and parking was provided and that measures were in place to ensure that noise from functions was kept to an acceptable minimum.  The Committee also gave their approval, subject to amended house designs for the houses fronting Bowmont Street, for the conversion and partial demolition of Kelso High School to provide 34 extra-care flats for the elderly and 47 affordable homes (SBC Ref: 19/01244/FUL).

The Local Review Body on 16 December considered three appeals against the Chief Planning Officer’s decision to refuse planning permission.  The LRB upheld the officer’s decision to refuse planning permission for the erection of a dwellinghouse at Maxton House, St. Boswells (SBC Ref: 19/01178/PPP) but reversed the Chief Planning Officer’s decision to refuse planning permission for the erection of a replacement dwellinghouse at Folly Cottage, Woodside Farm, Kelso and granted planning permission (SBC Ref: 19/00965/FUL).  The LRB upheld the Chief Planning Officer’s decision to restrict the height of a replacement boundary fence at 4 Lauder Road, Earlston to 1.2m (SBC Ref: 19/01018/FUL).

In a number of cases this past year, local communities have voiced concerns that the planning process administered by Scottish Borders Council fails to meet the expectations of its constituents.  This seems to be a recurring theme, whether it be related to inadequate neighbour notification, inadequate information about proposals or inadequate time for consultation and representations to be made.  Coincidentally, the January 2020 edition of the Royal Town Planning Institute’s Journal, The Planner, includes a report of the ninth RTPI Nathaniel Lichfield lecture by Professor Gavin Parker, Chair of Planning Studies at Henley Business School, University of Reading, which touches on the subject of enabling communities to become more involved in planning [Nathaniel Lichfield was an urban and environmental planner who played a key role in planning in the 1960s and died in 2009].  Dr. Gavin Parker, co-author of Enabling Participatory Planning, expressed the view that the planning system is alienating communities instead of supporting them and that reform is needed to ensure that communities are co-owners of the planning system.  Without such reform, trust in planning would continue to erode suiting the agenda of those who would prefer to remove the protections that planning offers communities.  He was speaking on the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Skeffington Report Planning and People [which I well remember] which paved the way for a radical change in public participation in planning.  Dr. Gavin Parker believes that many local authorities do the bare minimum to deliver participatory planning and that developers and their agents have mastered the art of giving the appearance of good consultation while manipulating the process to deliver what they want.  Readers might see something of this approach in their experience of the planning system.  According to Dr. Gavin Parker, a wide ranging review is needed of community participation in contemporary planning.  Whilst in Scotland, the Scottish Government may have gone some way to tackle this issue in the 2019 Planning Act, it remains to be seen whether the proposals in the Act, for increased local involvement in planning through, for instance, the preparation of Local Place Plans comes to fruition.  Watch this space.

In relation to appeals to the Scottish Government, after a lengthy and time-consuming process, the long-standing appeal submitted on 2 November 2018 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 was decided on 23 December 2019 (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2072).  No doubt, much to the delight of the surrounding community, the Reporter has dismissed the appeal and decided to refuse planning permission for this contentious proposal.  The Reporter considered that, although in many respects the proposed development would be able to comply with the development plan and national guidance, the positive outcomes and potential economic benefits arising from the development were not sufficient to set aside the adverse environmental effects specifically relating to separate and cumulative visual and landscape effects and residential amenity effects at this location.

Two appeals remain outstanding: (i) 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); and (ii) an appeal against the serving of an enforcement notice in respect of the erection of a 1.8m high fence on land at Silver Grange, Old Greenlaw Farm, Greenlaw in Berwickshire (DPEA Ref: ENA-140-2014).

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 2018.  Following the receipt of objections from Scottish Borders Council in April 2019, an inquiry is to be held in relation to 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).  The Inquiry will take place at the Volunteer Hall, Duns, commencing at 10.00am on Tuesday 10 March 2020.

Development Management: November 2019 Update

During November 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.  The vast majority related to the erection of single dwellinghouses and alterations and extensions to dwellinghouses.

An interesting proposal in the centre of Galashiels is for the conversion of first floor offices above W H Smith and the Post Office on Channel Street to from 3 flats and the refurbishment of 2 flats on the second floor (SBC Ref: 19/01659/FUL).  Another application seeks planning permission for the change of use of shop premises at 101 High Street to form two dwellinghouses (SBC Ref: 19/01623/FUL).  There are a number of similar properties in Galashiels town centre where there are opportunities to realise the potential residential use of upper floor premises; surely a welcome development in helping to revitalise and re-invigorate the town centre.

In Selkirk, a planning application for residential development on 1.8 acres of land at Ettrickhaugh Road envisages the erection of 6 dwellinghouses on land previously liable to flood (SBC Ref: 19/01687/PPP).  The site is now protected by the Flood Protection Scheme.  Nevertheless, measures are proposed to alleviate any further risk of flooding, such as raising the floor levels and building the house in flood resilient materials.  It will be interesting to see the council’s reaction to this proposal.

In the Ettrick Valley, Ettrick & Yarrow Community Development Company is proposing the erection of two dwellinghouses, and the change of use of the existing steading and alterations to provide three dwellings and five business units at Kirkhope Farm, near Ettrickbridge (SBC Ref: 19/01633/FUL).  All part of the development company’s attempt to re-invigorate the Valleys.

An intriguing application for the Mosspaul Hotel on the A7 at the boundary between the Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway, requests planning permission to change the use of the hotel to a venue for private parties and functions (SBC Ref: 19/01597/FUL).  Apparently, its use as a venue for stag and hen parties has been going on for a number of years, with anti-social behaviour a common feature, much to the consternation of near neighbours in Mosspaul Bothy.  Once upon a time, the Mosspaul Hotel was a popular overnight stop on the A7 but the days of the country inn seem to be over.  The use of a large private dwelling in West Linton for similar purposes was recently turned down and enforcement action taken to prevent its further use for short term visitor accommodation because of the unacceptable impact on neighbouring householders (see SBC Ref: 18/00074/UNUSE and DPEA appeal ref: ENA-140-2013).  An interesting comparison?

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 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.  Four applications were refused planning permission by the Chief Planning Officer under delegated powers in November: (i) an application for the erection of a dwellinghouse at 25 Princes Street, Innerleithen (SBC Ref: 19/01356/PPP); (ii) the erection of a boundary fence at Goslawdales, Selkirk (SBC Ref: 19/01254/FUL); (iii) the erection of a tree house holiday let at Sandystones, Ancrum, Jedburgh (SBC Ref: 19/00812/PPP); and (iv) the erection of a dwellinghouse at Town O’Rule, Bonchester Bridge (SBC Ref: 18/01194/FUL).

At its meeting on 4 November, the Planning and Building Standards Committee granted planning permission for the erection of a poultry building at Hutton Hall Barns, Berwickshire on a split vote (SBC Ref: 18/01620/FUL).  The surrounding area hosts a number of large poultry units and a number of local residents voiced concerns about the scale of the proposed development and the cumulative effect of the proposed and existing sites on their residential amenity.  The Chief Planning Officer, however, had no issue with the scale of the proposed development and considered that the mitigation measures proposed were sufficient to prevent unacceptable adverse impacts on residential amenity.  By 6 votes to 2, the Committee agreed.  The Committee also had no issue with a retrospective application for the erection of a general purpose agricultural/equestrian building at Old Greenlaw, outside Greenlaw in Berwickshire (SBC Ref: 19/01142/FUL).

Much to the consternation of 20 residents in the village, who opposed the proposal, the Committee also approved the erection of two dwellinghouses at West Lodge, Minto in Roxburghshire (SBC Ref: 19/00947/FUL).  Whilst local residents considered that the suburban nature of the design of the proposed houses was out of character with this historic village, following a site visit the Committee, by 5 votes to 2, decided to approve the application.

At the same meeting, the Committee considered a report on the impact of the relaxation of the core activity area policy (policy ED4), which restricts non-retail uses in some of the region’s town centres.  This report indicates that during the trial period of one year, in which the core activity area policy for Hawick was removed and that for Galashiels relaxed, a total of 11 applications for changes of use to retail premises were approved.  However, the majority of these changes of use would, most likely, have been approved anyway and the report indicates, therefore, that the relaxation of the policy has had little effect.  Nevertheless, the Committee agreed that the relaxation of core activity policy should continue, meantime, until the finalisation and approval of the new local development plan, which will set out future town centre policy.

The local Review Body on 18 November 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 proposed uPVC replacement windows at 5-1 Sandbed, Hawick on the grounds that they would have a significant adverse an unacceptable visual impact on the character of the building and would be highly detrimental to the character and appearance of the Hawick Conservation Area (SBC Ref: 1900203/FUL & 19/00026/RREF).

In relation to appeals to the Scottish Government, an appeal has been received against the serving of an enforcement notice in respect of the erection of a 1.8m high fence on land at Silver Grange, Old Greenlaw Farm, Greenlaw in Berwickshire (DPEA Ref: ENA-140-2014).  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: 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).

 

Development Management: May 2019 Update

During May 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.  In Berwickshire, the proprietor of the Blackadder Holiday Park in Greenlaw has submitted a Proposal of Application Notice for a proposed holiday caravan and camping site on land to the south of the A698 on the outskirts of Coldstream (SBC Ref: 19/00743/PAN).  A Public Event is to be held at Coldstream Community Centre on the High Street in Coldstream on Thursday 20 June, with a presentation to stakeholders and local businesses from 2.00pm-4.00pm and a drop-in public session from 4.40pm-8.00pm.

The council received notification of another application for a proposed wind farm comprising 49 wind turbines at Fawside, south of Teviothead, some 11 miles south-west of Hawick, which straddles the border between the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway Councils (SBC Ref: 19/00756/S36).  With an installed capacity greater than 50 MW (actually, 315 MW) the application has been submitted to Scottish Ministers under Section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989.  Scottish Borders Council is, therefore, a consultee and not the decision maker on this application.  Community consultation on the Fawside proposal, including consultation with community councils, commenced in 2017.  More recently, public exhibitions have been held in Teviothead and Langholm.  The applicant believes that the consultation process has improved the quality of the proposal.  It will now be for Scottish Borders [the Planning and Building Standards Committee] to decide what comments it wishes to make.

Interestingly, on 29 April 2019, SBC objected to a S36 application for the erection of 11 turbines as an extension to the Crystal Rig windfarm in the Lammermuir Hills on the border between Scottish Borders and East Lothian Councils on the grounds that the red aviation lights required would have an adverse visual impact and an adverse impact on landscape character (SBC Ref: 18/00768/S36).  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).

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 May, some 128 applications were determined by the Chief Planning Officer under delegated powers.  Five applications were refused planning permission, four of which relate to the erection of dwellinghouses: (i) the erection of a dwellinghouse on land at 3/4 Gilston Cottages, Heriot (SBC Ref: 19/00429/FUL); (ii) the erection of a dwellinghouse at Pyatshaw, Lauder (SBC Ref: 19/00358/PPP); (iii) the erection of four dwellinghouses on land west of Thornwood Lodge, Weensland Road, Hawick (SBC Ref: 18/01671/FUL); and (iv) the erection of a dwellinghouse on Murrayfield, St. Abs (SBC Ref: 18/01654/FUL).  Planning permission was also refused for the formation of an off-street parking area at 1 Balnagowan Road, Selkirk (SBC Ref: 19/00544/FUL).

The council also refused 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).  A previous application (SBC Ref: 18/00849/CLEU), refused on 28 August 2018, was the subject of an appeal to Scottish Ministers.  The appeal was dismissed on 5 December 2018 and the issue of a certificate was refused, largely due to the lack of evidence that the residential use of the property had commenced more than four years before the date of the application for the certificate.  This further application asserts that the property has been used solely as a dwellinghouse since January 2014, during which time no enforcement action has been taken by the council.  Nevertheless, the council has again refused the issue of a certificate.  No doubt, another appeal to Scottish Ministers is inevitable.

There was no meeting of the Planning and Building Standards Committee during May.  On 27 May, the Local Review Body (LRB) considered three applications for a review of the Chief Planning Officer’s decision that had been continued from the previous meeting on 15 April 2019.  These related to: (1) the erection of a dwellinghouse on land at Maxwell Street, Innerleithen (SBC Ref: 18/00728/PPP; 19/00001/RREF); (2) the erection of a dwellinghouse at Lamberton in Berwickshire (SBC Ref: 18/00961/FUL; 19/00006/RREF); and (3) the installation of windows in lieu of air conditioning units at Deans Bar, Orrock Place in Hawick (SBC Ref: 17/01368/FUL; 19/00005/RREF).  The LRB again continued consideration of these appeals pending the receipt of further information.

In relation to appeals to the Scottish Government, an appeal has now been submitted 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 that caused considerable concerns amongst the Peebles community leading to a refusal of planning permission by the Planning and Building Standards Committee on 4 February 2019 on the grounds that the proposed development was of a scale, mass, height and density inappropriate to its surroundings on the banks of the river Tweed within Peebles Conservation Area (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2076).

An appeal has also been submitted, as anticipated, in relation to the erection of 69 dwelling units at Coopersknowe, Galashiels.  This proposal by Eildon Housing Association has also proved controversial and was refused planning permission on 7 February 2019 on the grounds that the proposed development would constitute over-development that would create a significant adverse impact on the public road serving the site, the C77 Langshaw Road (DPEA Ref: PPA-140-2075).

The appeal against the refusal of listed building consent for the installation of replacement windows in ‘The Honey House’, Longformacus in Berwickshire was dismissed on 17 May 2019 (DPEA Ref: LBA-140-2005).  In dismissing the appeal, the Reporter agreed with the council that the replacement uPVC windows would be discordant and incongruous features that would adversely impact on the character and appearance of the listed building.

Two other appeals remain outstanding: (1) 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); and (2) an 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 (SBC Ref: 15/00045/UNDEV: DPEA Ref: ANA-140-2004).  A previous appeal was terminated in February 2019 following the withdrawal of the enforcement notice by the council (SBC Ref: 15/00045/UNDEV; DPEA Ref: ANAA-140-2001).

 

Development Management: April 2019 update

During April 2019, the Scottish Borders Council received some 145 applications for planning permission and other consents, including listed building and conservation area consents and applications for works to protected trees.  A number of applications requested planning permission for a variety of commercial uses within town centres.  In Kelso, a planning application proposes the change of use of part of 40 Bridge Street into a café/bistro to augment the existing deli (SBC Ref: 19/00568/FUL).  Another proposes the change of use of the Border Hotel/Guest House at 8-10 Woodmarket to a café and holiday apartment (SBC Ref: 19/00472/FUL).  In Melrose, an application requests planning permission for the change of use of a shop at 32 Market Square into an office (SBC Ref: 19/00510/FUL).

Perhaps of more significance, in Hawick, a planning application has been submitted for the erection of a retail store and restaurant with drive-thru and take-away facility on the site of a former car showroom on Commercial Road  (SBC Ref: 19/00509).  It is understood that the retail unit would be occupied by the relocated B&M Store together with the Border’s second McDonald’s drive-through fast-food restaurant.  In Galashiels, the bakery chain, Greggs, has applied for planning permission for the use of 25 Market Street, which is on the corner of Market Street and Green Street, as a bakery and café with outdoor seating (SBC Ref: 19/00528/FUL).

Applications for wind farms are a regular feature of these up-dates and a planning application has now been received for the erection of 8 wind turbines, up to 130m in height to blade tip, on land at Wull Muir, near Heriot, close to the northern boundary of the Scottish Borders (SBC Ref: 19/00191/FUL).  This proposal was the subject of a Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) in September 2018 (18/01164/PAN).  Public exhibitions were held in Heriot and Temple (in neighbouring Midlothian) in September 2018.  According to the Pre-Application Consultation Report, after this initial consultation, a number of significant alterations were made to the proposed development and a further round of consultations was undertaken in February 2019.  To date, few objections have been received, perhaps a reflection of the success of the public engagement process.

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 April, some 130 planning applications were determined by the Chief Planning Officer under delegated powers.  Five applications were refused, including two applications for replacement windows and internal alterations at 25 High Street, Selkirk (SBC Refs: 19/00183/FUL & 19/00184/LBC).  In this case, the Chief Planning Officer considered that the replacement of the existing timber sash and case windows with Upvc tilt and turn windows would not be acceptable and could undermine the positive changes taking place in Selkirk Town Centre under the CARS scheme.  In Roxburghshire, planning permission was refused for the erection of three holiday lodges at Hallrule, Bonchester Bridge (SBC Ref: 18/01680/FUL) on the grounds that the development did not respect the amenity and character of the surrounding area.  In Peeblesshire, planning permission was refused for the erection of a dwellinghouse at Blyth Bridge (SBC Ref: 19/00194/FUL) on the grounds that the site lies within the countryside and the proposal does not relate to an existing building group.  An application for the use of agricultural land as a dog walking area, requiring the erection of a 6ft. high boundary fence, at Milkieston, north of Peebles (SBC Ref: 18/01161/FUL) was refused on the grounds that the access to the site off the A703 is sub-standard.

On 29 April, the Planning and Building Standards Committee granted planning permission for the erection of 30m high telecommunications mast with associated equipment on the slopes of Deepdale Hill in the upper Ettrick valley.  The purpose of the mast is to assist with the Scottish Government’s strategy to provide 4G services to rural communities.  Although there were a number of objections to the height and location of the mast, on amenity grounds, there was overwhelming support for the proposal amongst the local community.

On 15 April, the Local Review Body (LRB) overturned the decision of the Chief Planning Officer to refuse planning permission for the erection of a dwellinghouse at the end of Caberston Avenue in Walkerburn (SBC Ref: 18/00681/FUL).  Three applications for a review of the Chief Planning Officer’s decision remain outstanding.  These relate to: (1) the erection of a dwellinghouse on land at Maxwell Street, Innerleithen (SBC Ref: 18/00728/PPP); (2) the erection of a dwellinghouse at Lamberton in Berwickshire (SBC Ref: 18/00961/FUL); and (3) the installation of windows in lieu of air conditioning units at Deans Bar, Orrock Place in Hawick (SBC Ref: 17/01368/FUL).

In relation to appeals to the Scottish Government, 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) have been dismissed and planning permission refused.  In respect of the planning application, the Reporter concluded that, although the provision of 70 new houses on brownfield land is supported by planning policy, the relocation of the existing allotments was not acceptable.  In relation to the application for conservation area consent, the Reporter concluded that the current appearance of the existing mill buildings did not warrant their demolition and that, given there was no acceptable scheme for the redevelopment of the site, the demolition of the existing buildings would not accord with conservation area policy.  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) has also been dismissed.  The Reporter considered that a change of use had been carried out without the required planning permission and that the council was not time-barred from taking enforcement action to terminate the change of use.  He also considered that the unauthorised use had an unacceptable impact on neighbouring properties and that the use should be terminated within two months of the enforcement notice taking effect.

Two other appeals remain outstanding: (1) an appeal against the refusal of listed building consent for the installation of replacement windows in ‘The Honey House’, Longformacus in Berwickshire (DPEA Ref: LBA-140-2005); and (2) 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).  In addition, an appeal has been re-submitted 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: ANA-140-2004).  A previous appeal was terminated in February 2019 following the withdrawal of the enforcement notice by the council (SBC Ref: 15/00045/UNDEV; DPEA Ref: ANAA-140-2001).

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).