Housing association plans 34 flats at Gala

Galashiels-based architects Cameron's proposal for 34 flats at Galashiels.
Galashiels-based architects Cameron's proposal for 34 flats at Galashiels.

Plans have been drawn up to build 34 flats at an empty site in Galashiels.

The proposed development, designed by Galashiels-based architects Camerons on behalf of Eildon Housing Association, would be located next to Gala Water Retail Park’s fashion retailer, New Look, on Huddersfield Street.

Proposed view of the 34 flats at Huddersfield Street, Galashiels designed by Camerons architects.

Proposed view of the 34 flats at Huddersfield Street, Galashiels designed by Camerons architects.

The site, earmarked in the local development plan for business or industrial use, has been vacant land for a number of years, most recently as a caravan storage yard.

It was previously home to a number of 19th century works and mills, the last remaining significant example being the Gala Mill to the east of the site.

This latest proposal comes as part of Eildon Housing Associations five-year plan to construct hundreds of homes across the Borders and would see the construction of a five storey building containing a mix of flat types. That includes three-bedroom, two-bedroom and one-bedroom flats as well as 44 undercroft car parking spaces.

Back in 2009, Glasgow-based retirement home developer McCarthy and Stone, planned to build 46 sheltered apartments there. That application was recommended for approval by the planning officer and was supported by Galashiels and Langlee Community Council.

Proposed view of the 34 flats at Huddersfield Street, Galashiels designed by Camerons architects.

Proposed view of the 34 flats at Huddersfield Street, Galashiels designed by Camerons architects.

While it is too early in the planning process to comment on the build’s expected cost and time period until completion, Nile Istephan, chief executive of Eildon Housing Association, said: “In response to high levels of housing need across many Borders communities including Galashiels, Eildon Housing Association is a planning the delivery of our largest development programme in our history.

“This programme of over 750 high quality new homes over the next five years will meet housing need, help to regenerate our towns and villages, inject millions of pounds of investment into the local economy and create hundreds of jobs.”

Sandy Aitchison, councillor for Galashiels and District, said he supports this latest proposal.

He told the Southern: “My one reservation is the number of floors but it does provide additional housing and in the centre of the town which clears up a piece of waste ground.

“As the town develops into the future we need to keep supplying good quality housing for our residents and this will give the town a boost.”

A design statement supporting the application said: “The area could now be considered being one of mixed uses and we understand that Scottish Borders Council is currently considering this site as a potential housing site as part of its supplementary guidance review, as Scottish Borders Council understand the limitations of the site in terms of its value as employment land, given its size, location and flooding constraint.”

It added: “Each flat when advertised for the area has returned on average 22 people applying.

“New build units are more in demand, but they rarely turn over due to the higher quality.

“This proposal intends to provide a supply to meet this demand.”