SBC shares vision for housing

Lowood Estate south of the Tweed (left of the photograph)
Lowood Estate south of the Tweed (left of the photograph)

A vision for the future development and expansion of Tweedbank in the new railway age will be unveiled later this month.

The Tweedbank masterplan, which has been fine-tuned by Scottish Borders Council planners over the past six months, is underpinned by the settlement’s role as the southern terminus of the Borders Railway.

The blueprint includes the provision of a Central Borders Business Park to take advantage of the village’s improved connectivity and the allocation of 34 hectares of land at Lowood Estate – between the station and the River Tweed – capable of accommodating 300 new houses.

Last May, the owners of Lowood reacted angrily to news that SBC was proposing to buy the land.

“Lowood is not for sale,” said Erica Hamilton, on behalf of the estate’s trustees, at the time.-

But asked this week if the trustees’ position had changed, Mrs Hamilton told The Southern: “Discussions are ongoing so there is very little comment I could make at this time.”

There are currently around 900 houses at Tweedbank, which began life in the early 1970s and now has a population of 2,100. The settlement includes 190 acres which were compulsorily acquired from Lowood Estates by the former Roxburgh County Council after a long legal battle.

Four years ago, to avoid a compulsory purchase order, the Lowood trustees agreed to sell two fields which were required for the construction of the railway and station.

Public control of yet more of the Lowood land is considered essential if the railway is ever extended south.

And at the last council meeting, members unanimously agreed to endorse the following motion from Councillor David Paterson (Ind, Hawick and Hermitage): “That this council reaffirms its wholehearted commitment to supporting the extension of the Borders Railway from Tweedbank to Hawick and then on to Carlisle via Newcastleton.”

The Tweedbank masterplan is due to go on public display at a drop-in event at Tweedbank Community Centre on Wednesday, September 27, from 2 till 9pm.

“A team of architects will be available to discuss local needs,” said a council spokesperson. “The plan sets out a medium to long-term strategy through the allocation of places for commercial, retail, residential and community facilities, as well as roads and utilities.”