Design debate over house plans

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Community councillors debated the merits of commonality against variety on Monday while discussing design proposals for a house at the site of the Buccleuch Cleaners.

The current proposal is for a two-storey house at the west side of the old cleaners site.

The house, to be covered in blackened larch cladding under a pre-coloured steel roof, largely differs from other proposed neighbouring buildings.

The community council’s planning spokesman, Ian King, questioned the design of the building, calling for more commonality between the design of the building and its context.

He said: “The property sits in a curious place in my mind, and it stands out from the other two plots which have also been designed by the same designer.”

All three proposals have been designed by Stuart Davidson Architecture.

Plans for the two buildings on the original site include white facades of rendered walls and natural larch timber cladding.

Community councillor Kirsty Lovatt said: “Plenty of houses don’t have commonality and get planning permission.

“Many people that I have spoken to do not think that commonality is seen to be that important.”

Chairman Alistair Pattullo said: “All houses looking the same is unnecessary. I quite like a bit of variety”.

Architect Stuart Davidson later said: “This design replaces the originally approved highly-contemporary design for the site which highlights that a contemporary style is acceptable here.

“The proposed materials palette has been picked to reflect and blend with the adjoining woodland.

“The actual timber cladding finish and type will be very similar to that of the other properties, linked to the originally-approved coloured standing-seam roof and dark-framed windows to create a simplistic high-quality design.”

The meeting also heard Mr King’s concerns about the access point to the property.

With the entrance to the main car park of the property being at the side, it would require vehicles entering via a road leading to Victoria Park as well as the river.

Mr Pattullo responded: “The Forestry Commission uses the road, so why can’t other people?”

He added: “We should be doing everything we can to encourage house building and design.”

The proposal for land west of Buccleuch has been submitted by a Mr and Mrs Manson.