Peebles veterinary practice relocation appeal gets the green light
Two Rivers Veterinary Practice, currently based in Peebles Old Town, submitted a change of use planning application to Scottish Borders Council to take over the office units at 2 Rowan Court at Cavalry Park in Peebles.
But the relocation – which would require the current occupiers to find alternative accommodation – was refused on the grounds it is contrary to council planning policy.
The Rowan Court complex is currently occupied by seven businesses – a locksmith, a complementary therapist, graphic designer, accountancy services, a dietician and a consultant psychologist.
In his report, council planning officer Stuart Small says: “Fundamentally, the benefit of such premises for the applicant’s requirements is fully acknowledged, as are the employment benefits, however, these must also be balanced with the need for the business park to remain available for business uses, if the principal policy objective of retaining it as a business (rather than a service) location is to be maintained.
“This is a relatively large building, comprising of multiple units, and its use for a veterinary practice would not only significantly reduce the availability of floorspace for business use, but would also potentially set an undesirable precedent that could affect decisions on the future of other units within the park. Therefore, on balance, it is considered that the conflict with planning policy is overriding”.
But members of the council’s Local Review Body over-turned the officer’s refusal this week after highlighting the community benefits of the relocation.
Tweeddale East ward’s SNP councillor Marshall Douglas said: “Calvary Park has very mixed use at the moment, it’s not only business or industrial. I don’t think a veterinary surgery would be in any way detrimental to the present use of that area. It would be useful to the community as it is a local business that needs more space”.
Councillor Viv Thomson, SNP for Tweeddale West, said: “This is a business that brings a significant number of staff and I think would co-exist with adjoining properties and businesses on site and I think it is a good location for the vets”.
Mid-Berwickshire ward’s SNP councillor Donald Moffat, added: “I can’t think of a better business to have in a business park because in a rural area we need vets and the farming community needs vets and I think this is a great community benefit”.
A report submitted with the change of use application, from Ericht Planning & Property Consultants, said: “This application will provide much-needed accommodation for this independent veterinary business.
“Two Rivers Veterinary Practice has surgeries in Biggar and Peebles and was established in 2005. Since then it has grown from a two vet practice to a six vet practice and from a team of six employees to 26.
“The practice has outgrown the current property internally. Further, there is no outside space and there is a lack of parking near the surgery”.