Revised plans go in for bus maintenance site at fire-hit Innerleithen industrial estate

Plans for a new bus maintenance facility on a Borders industrial estate have been revived weeks after an initial bid was ditched due to neighbours raising fire safety fears and other concerns.

By Paul Kelly
Friday, 3rd April 2020, 12:15 pm
Firefighters tackling a blaze at Innerleithen's Station Yard in February 2019.
Firefighters tackling a blaze at Innerleithen's Station Yard in February 2019.

Those concerns were prompted by a blaze at Station Yard on Innerleithen’s Traquair Road industrial estate in February last year.

A unit used by transport company Barc Coach Hire was left damaged by that fire, along with ones occupied by motorbike repair business Darl Services and shot-blasting and powder-coating firm ColourWorks, and it recently submitted an application to planners at Scottish Borders Council for consent to build a new maintenance unit there.

Neighbours of the proposed development objected on various grounds, however, including prospective loss of light and views, the height of the planned building, potential noise nuisance and fire safety fears, prompting the withdrawal of that application.

The company has now put in a new bid, though, for a different location on the estate, on land west of its current base at Waverley Mills.

Objecting to the original application, Iain MacLeod, of Tweedbank Ley in Innerleithen, asked: “Are we to have diesel engines turning over at all hours during cold mornings? Traquair Road is too small, with little enough open junctions to support additional traffic.

“I am also highly concerned that this location has already proved to be deficient in sufficient public water supply during last year’s fire.

“The water points accessible to the fire brigade are at the furthest away part of the site from this proposed facility. Any fire fuelled by solvents could very likely transfer to neighbouring residences.

“It also seems folly to further stuff so many vehicles and commercial properties directly in the heart of evolving private residences.”

Neighbour and fellow objector Andrew Keddie said: “I am extremely concerned about the height of the proposed building being so close to my fence line.

“The noise nuisance and fumes are very worrying, being so close to my property. There is already considerable noise from this industrial site.”

Fellow Tweedbank Ley resident Sarah Murrell added: “I’m concerned about additional noise as noise already comes from that area, and also fumes as we’ve had fumes coming from there in the past, and also fire risk after problems with water pressure during last year’s fire on the site meant it took several hours to bring under control.”

Withdrawing the original plans, the applicant’s agent, Jim Hopkins, of Lintburn Gardens in Innerleithen, said: “The applicant has now advised me that he has decided to renew the lease on the industrial unit identified as the store on the location and continue to maintain his buses from this location.”

“The applicant also has a fleet of five minibuses requiring servicing facilities.”