Broughton homes bid fails on boundary issue

Plans for 25 homes in the village of Broughton were rejected on Monday, on the basis that half the site lies outwith the settlement boundary.

Despite the rejection of the scheme, the developer, Emma Lambe, will be told that an application for the northern part of the site, within the settlement boundary, ‘may be given favourable consideration’.

While all the members of the council’s planning committee were opposed to the plan, it took the acting chairman’s casting vote to confirm that as the only reason for refusal.

Councillor Stuart Bell had proposed that an additional reason for refusal be added, relating to flood risk.

He told the meeting that he had walked his dog around the outside of the site and stated: “The whole thing is what I’d call a bog – it’s covered in reeds and rushes.

“The vulnerability to flooding on the more southerly part of the site is a reason for refusing planning permission.”

However, Councillor Michelle Ballantyne pointed out that the whole site had been identified in a 1996 local plan as being within the boundary, only for a planning reporter to rule that only half could be listed as such in 2011 Borders-wide plan.

Councillor Vicky Davidson added that she did not see the flooding issues as ‘insurmountable’.

The council’s flooding officer and Scottish Environment Protection Agency had raised concerns relating to the development, but suggested appropriate conditions that could provide mitigation.

Councillor Simon Mountford added: “I don’t think we are competent to overturn the report of our flooding officer.”

A vote on a motion by Councillor Davidson for the scheme to be refused in line with the officer’s recommendation, with just one reason for refusal, received five votes, as did that of Councillor Bell.

However, Councillor Jim Brown, whilst conceding that there were some flooding concerns, gave his casting vote to the former motion.

He was in the chair due to Councillor Ron Smith’s resignation from the committee after breaching a code of conduct in relation to a planning application.

Planning consent for 36 homes on the whole site, granted in 1962, remains active, but work has not been able to be started as access to the site was via a new bridge from Smithy Croft, which hit legal difficulties.