Housing developer looks for compromise amid tree row in Peebles

A housing developer is considering options to limit the removal of mature trees to make way for a new apartment block beside an 18th century Peebles mansion.

The existing site and a visualisation of how the apartment block will look. (Image: Granton Homes)
The existing site and a visualisation of how the apartment block will look. (Image: Granton Homes)

Edinburgh-based Granton Homes has planning permission in principle for a 14-home flatted development in the grounds of Kingsmeadows House.

Although an Estate Management Plan shows that 195 new native trees will be planted, a Save Kingsmeadows campaign has recently been launched demanding that no trees are felled, calling for the woodland to remainthe way it has been for 200 years.

In response, Gary Mawer, managing director of Granton Homes, said: "The statement that we propose the removal of 46 mature trees aged 150-200 years is simply incorrect.

"The majority of the trees are on the site of the apartment block and they are much younger, mostly self-seeded and not part of the mature woodland.”

Granton Homes acknowledges that the proposed eastern access road, which had to be widened to an adoptable standard as required by the council, would now require the removal of 13 mature trees.

However, Mr Mawer has expressed a willingness to consider other options which would allow many of these trees to remain.

He explained: "Granton Homes would be prepared to consider options allowing most or all of the mature trees along the proposed access road to remain.

"Those options include the new apartment block being accessedby the existing road serving Kingsmeadows House, the relocation of the proposed access road slightly to the west of the current intended route, and the reduction of the width of the proposed access road to belowadoptable standard.”

Mr Mawer added: "Granton Homes is committed to the sensitive development of the Kingsmeadows estate and we will be working towards that goal with the stakeholders."

Granton Homes bought the Grade B-listed Georgian mansion and its grounds in 2014.

The house was built in 1795 at the cost of £600 by Sir John Hay, an Edinburgh banker.