A new ambulance station should be built in the grounds of Borders General Hospital and will save lives, a planning appeal reporter has said.
Philip Hutchinson made the comment in his decision notice, which was issued on Tuesday and overturned the council’s refusal of planning permission in November.
Mr Hutchinson said: “The benefits will include much improved response times relative to the existing situation over a large part of the surrounding area. I am satisfied that this will save lives.”
His ruling, subject to any legal action by the council, will also enable NHS Borders to build a £1.8million health centre at the existing base in Roxburgh Street, Galashiels.
A spokesman for the Scottish Ambulance Service’s planning agents said: “This decision...draws our clients’ five-year site search to a successful conclusion, very much to community benefit by releasing the existing site on Roxburgh Street for the new health centre and, moreover, through the saving of lives facilitated by the reduction in response times.”
The ambulance station will be built close to the main junction into the hospital grounds.
A spokesman said the council was surprised and disappointed by the decision.
A condition of the approval is that there needs to be compensatory planting to replace trees removed for the station.
Councillors refused the plans partly due to concerns over loss of trees and the impact on views of the Eildons.