Appeal over plans to build new house at Gattonside rejected

The Rig at Gattonside, designed by Peter Womersley.
The Rig at Gattonside, designed by Peter Womersley.

Councillors have refused to grant planning permission for a house in Gattonside next to the former home of architect Peter Womersley.

Scottish Borders Council’s local review body was this week asked to review the case after council officers rejected an initial application by Mr and Mrs A Matthew, of Gattonside, to build a new home in the Loan.

The house, north west of the Gables, would have bordered the Rig, a self-designed home built in 1957 and then occupied by Mr Womersley.

His modernist designs, such as the football stadium at Netherdale and High Sunderland House, near Selkirk, won him worldwide recognition, and the Rig is now a listed building.

However, the main concern raised by planning officers is the accessibility of the narrow road leading to it, said by residents to have reached full capacity.

One objector, neighbour Stuart Folkes, wrote: “I am concerned that the number of cars that regularly use the road could be understated.

“There are currently nine residences and each house could conceivably have up to four cars.

“The road is very narrow, with very limited passing places and it is in poor repair as it is.”

The applicants requested that the decision be looked at by councillors as they felt a disproportionate emphasis was placed on the suitability of the road, and in their appeal notice they claim that the road is no narrower than others in Gattonside and has been used for years without incident.

Jedburgh councillor Scott Hamilton said: “Gattonside is a beautiful place to live, and there is obviously a demand for housing.

“It is infill, so I’m quite satisfied that it is an area suitable for housing development. However, I think what we’re all concerned about is the road. The main area of concern is the extra traffic that would be generated by another house.

“It is very, very difficult to get a perspective on it as because it’s an infill site I’m sympathetic to it, but I am very worried about the road.

“I think we have to go with the information that the officers have given us, and I do believe that there is an issue here.

“I’d applaud them for finding the right site, but not for finding the right road.”

Councillors voted in favour of upholding their officers’ decision, and planning consent was denied.