Controversial dog-walking site bid near Peebles put on hold due to Covid-19 lockdown

Controversial plans for a dog-walking facility near Peebles have been put on hold.

Monday, 11th May 2020, 11:20 am
The new access to the Fast and the Furriest dog-walking site near Peebles now being proposed.
The new access to the Fast and the Furriest dog-walking site near Peebles now being proposed.

Canine exercise business the Fast and the Furriest has had retrospective planning applications for change of use of agricultural land near Milkieston Toll House, off the A703 Peebles-to-Edinburgh road, rejected twice but isn’t giving up yet.

Its initial application, submitted in August 2018 following the rejection the year before of another retrospective request made in 2016 for consent for a perimeter fence and erection of a dog day-care building, was turned down by Scottish Borders Council planners in April last year.

That decision was upheld on appeal to the authority’s local review body in September.

The reason given for that rejection was concern over the safety of the access road leading to the site.

In March, however, Paul Lawrie and Fiona MacCallum, co-owners of the business, based at Penicuik in Midlothian, submitted a revised bid involving blocking off the current entrance and creating a new way in and out via a junction leading to the nearby Cringletie Hotel.

That application has now been withdrawn, though, because of problems faced by council officers in carrying out site visits due to the Scottish Government’s current coronavirus lockdown.

A spokesperson for the pair’s agent, Planning Solutions Edinburgh, said: “Given the current difficulties with regards to site visits and the timescale necessary to complete more detailed drawings of the proposed new access, I would like to formally withdraw the planning application.

“Paul and Fiona intend to resubmit a fresh application as soon as we can reach an acceptable solution to the access issue.”

That’s a prospect driving objector Ray Haston, owner of next-door Milkieston Toll House, barking mad.

In a letter to the council maintaining his opposition to the plans, he says: “This should be declined and these people should be told to get off the land as it’s now been five years and they have been degrading the area since they moved in.

“It’s an eyesore right now, and that’s it being used without planning permission. What’s it going to be like if they get permission to change it?

“This is not only an eyesore but audibly annoying, with packs of dogs barking their heads off.

“Dogs are being shipped in from all over – Edinburgh, East Lothian and who knows where else – to foul up someone else’s backyard.

“If change of use was granted for the land, you can bet your bottom dollar there will not just be five van-loads of dogs. It would be unlimited.”

An earlier supporting statement submitted by Planning Solutions Edinburgh says: “This revised application considers the concerns raised over the previous planning application and the subsequent appeal.

“The application will create a new access to the site via the new junction currently under construction at the entrance to the road off the A703 leading to the Cringletie Hotel.

“This will allow the owners of the site to share the same road as guests en route to the hotel.

“The existing access will be closed off and will no longer be used to access the property.”

“The proposed access utilises the new junction and link road, which vastly improves road safety for cars entering or leaving the site.

“Improvements to the site access have ensured the proposal is compliant with best-practice road safety requirements.”