Properties in Galashiels described as 'Stalinist' are to be flattened and 109 new family homes built

Rundown flats in Galashiels described as ‘Stalinist’ in design are to be replaced by a new contemporary development of largely family homes, it was agreed today, Monday, March 29.

By Paul Kelly
Monday, 29th March 2021, 1:59 pm
Beech Avenue in Galashiels.
Beech Avenue in Galashiels.

Hawick-based Waverley Housing submitted a planning application for consent to demolish existing flats in Beech Avenue and Laurel Grove and replace them with 109 new homes, accompanied by communal green spaces.

It was a bid rubber-stamped by members of Scottish Borders Council’s planning and building standards committee when they met via video-link.

The 1960s-built multi-storey, multi-occupancy social housing in those streets is to be replaced by low-rise accommodation for rent as part of a wider regeneration of the western end of Upper Langlee.

How the properties in Galashiels will look.

An extensive consultation on the plans had found that residents of Upper Langlee were positive about its location and community spirit but were keen to see new houses and better communal spaces.

The committee chair, Councillor Simon Mountford, said: “This is a huge improvement on what was here before. I echo Councillor Neil Richards comment that the previous style was ‘Stalinist’ and I want to congratulate the architects who have come up with something which is modern and an echo of the pre-existing buildings but without being a replica and I like the way the buildings are staggered and that you have a variation in the roof-lines, so overall this is going to become once again an attractive and popular place to live in Galashiels

Members called for electric car charging points to be included within the development.

A spokesperson for Waverley Housing said: “Over recent years, the social housing at Upper Langlee has carried a certain stigma stemming from increasing levels of antisocial behaviour and a number of problematic tenants.

“There were increased levels of property vacancies and a decrease in interest in certain house types and locations, along with a perception of a lack of larger family properties available within the development. The aim is to provide a broader mix of housing types which better reflects the future needs of the social rental sector, particularly for family homes.”