More than 900 new homes being lined up
Potential sites in the Borders for more than 900 new homes to be built on within the next five years have been identified by council chiefs.
Almost 20 potential housing plots are being eyed up by planners, and prospective neighbours and other residents will now be consulted by Scottish Borders Council about its suggested sites.
The need for more land to be allocated for homes in the region was flagged up a year ago by a team of Scottish Government reporters after they ruled that there is a shortfall of 913 housing plots in the council’s local development plan.
They demanded that its land-use blueprint be updated to include an “effective supply” of sites capable of being developed for housing within five years.
They gave the council 12 months from the adoption of the development plan in May this year to prepare and submit supplementary guidance including the required additional sites.
At last week’s full council meeting, planning officer Charles Johnston presented a list of preferred sites drawn up by his department to meet that perceived shortfall.
Councillors agreed that those locations should now go out to eight weeks of public consultation before being reconsidered by the council for approval and adoption into the development plan.
Mr Johnston explained that his department had issued a call to landowners and developers for potential sites, all with a capacity of no fewer than five house plots, in February and March this year.
The 19 sites selected were whittled down from a total of 165 initially under consideration.
A near-40-hectare expanse of land on the Lowood Estate at Tweedbank accounts for almost a third of the potential housing allocation proposed, having been assessed as suitable to host 300 houses.
“It is considered that the site offers a strategic opportunity due to its immediate proximity to the railway terminus and its location within the central Borders,” councillors were told.
“Internally there are a number of constraints which would require to be sensitively addressed.
“Although lacking in designations, the estate shows clear indications of being a designed landscape, with an attractive meandering driveway leading from the gatehouse through parkland to the main house and associated buildings.
“A masterplan for the site is currently being prepared which will address relevant matters in more detail, including taking account of the existing planned landscape.”
The next biggest sites suggested, both lined up to accommodate 100 homes, are a 9.4-hectare plot at Hillview North in Coldstream and 6.2 acres of land at Nethershot in Kelso.
Elsewhere in the Borders, Galashiels is in line for 50 new houses, eight at Lintburn Street, 12 at Rose Court and 30 at the former Castle Warehouse site in High Street; Selkirk for 105, 30 at Angles Field and 75 at Heather Mill; Kelso for 70 more, 20 at Tweed Court and 50 at the soon-to-be-vacant Kelso High School site; Hawick for 21, five at Leishman Place, six at Henderson Road and 10 at an old factory site in Fairhurst Drive; Newstead for six, at the Orchard; Peebles for 100, 30 at Rosetta Road and 70 at the March Street mill; Innerleithen for 35, at Caerlee Mill; Ayton for six, north of High Street; and Reston for 38, behind its parish church.