Community council restates opposition to chalets

SELKIRK Community Council has reiterated its opposition to plans for a 28-chalet complex at Whitmuir Hall, writes Kenny Paterson.

The application, originally lodged last year, came before community councillors again this month after developer Alan Williams made some minor adjustments to the plans.

But the community council’s planning spokesman, Ian King, has said the organisation’s position remains unchanged.

He said: “They are building hard up against Whitmuir Loch and with the loch being an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest), its owners believe it will be badly affected.

“The owners of the loch are up in arms and the new plans have nothing to suggest it will be better in terms of affecting the landscape.”

Mr Williams, who bought Whitmuir Hall from the Dunlop family in 1989 and developed it into a holiday centre, initially applied to build 28 chalets in 2009, but withdrew his application due to the considerable opposition.

He revived his plans in August 2011, but the proposal was greeted with numerous objections once again. As well as the impact on Whitmuir Loch and Gala Rig – also an SSSI – there have also been fears surrounding the site’s access road.

However, a research company’s report submitted to Scottish Borders Council in September this year says the region’s self-catering accommodation is “very modest”.

It added that the proposed development would prove to be a key facility and significant employer for Selkirk and the Borders, should it receive planning permission.