Auction mart masterplan for Newtown St Boswells would create a new rural hub

Richard Rankin, chief executive of H&H.Richard Rankin, chief executive of H&H.
Richard Rankin, chief executive of H&H.
A multi-million pound masterplan for the wholesale redevelopment of Newtown St Boswells auction mart and adjoining land is being recommended for approval.

When members of Scottish Borders Council’s planning and building and standards committee meet on Monday, March 29, they will be be advised to rubber-stamp the bid from site owner Harrison and Hetheringon (H&H) to redevelop the auction mart facilities and to create an enhanced village on land the Cumbrian-based company owns adjacent to it, through new retail development, a hotel, a college training centre, light industry, residential flats and leisure facilities.

The overall site is divided by the A68, with the western part comprising of the existing mart with livestock pens, grazing land and associated buildings and offices.

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The plan incorporates the addition of new covered pens as well as auction rings, canteen, car parking and office accommodation.

Reorganisation of the mart will remove old pens and buildings to release space for an enhanced village centre to incorporate the proposed retail, employment and community facilities.

The creation of a new central spine road via a new roundabout on the A68 will also remove the need for farm vehicles and other traffic to travel via the internal village road.

The existing mart, built in 1871, used the Waverley railway line to transport livestock elsewhere until its closure in 1969.

The current application has been long in the preparation.

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The applicants held a public event back in March 2018 when they also consulted with Newtown and Eildon Community Council and ward councillors.

In his report, Craig Miller, the council’s principal planning officer, says: "The application represents an important and pivotal stage in the growth of Newtown St Boswells, allowing for restoration and retention of the auction mart facility and listed auction ring buildings whilst creating opportunity for formation of an improved village centre and a focal point.

"The economic benefits of the development have been demonstrated and justify expansion outwith the settlement boundary, following the precedent set by previous decisions of the council on auction mart land.

"The applicant states that the mart, the only remaining auction mart in the Borders, has largely remained untouched since it opened in 1871 and is a life-line for local farmers.

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"Whilst approval for this development cannot guarantee early development compared to other expansion, there is an acceptance that the proposals are important both for the retention of the existing auction mart facility in the village and to facilitate refurbishment and improvement of the heart of the village.”

Newtown and Eildon Community Council has given its support to the scheme and has urged the developer to incorporate a village centre, a health centre, a public square with food store and a children’s soft play area.

H&H chief executive officer Richard Rankin says the development “will not only benefit the mart but also grow Newtown St Boswells as a rural hub.”