Contentious Netherbarns site back on the agenda

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THE site of a controversial planning application for a large housing estate near Galashiels has been included in the latest draft of the council’s local development plan.

The 20-acre Netherbarns site, across the Tweed from historic Abbotsford, received planning permission for 79 homes in 2007, but objections from Historic Scotland led to a Government reporter overturning the council’s decision on appeal.

It is believed that Historic Scotland are now content for the site to be developed for housing.

Last week Councillor Sandy Aitchison called for the site to be pulled from the draft plan.

He said: “If we are to maximise the tourist benefits of the railway the last thing we want to do is put the success we have at Abbotsford in jeopardy.”

Mr Aitchison added: “There is already a great deal of housing development already allocated to Galashiels.”

However, Councillor Michelle Ballantyne said the site was ‘incredibly well screened’ from Abbotsford, and added: “We would all love to keep everywhere green, but the bottom line is Galashiels is a growing town, we are bringing the railway in, and we need development capacity.”

Councillors agreed to keep the site in the draft local development plan, which will be subject to a 12-week public consultation period.