Opposition to plans for a major new caravan park earmarked for land close to a historic Borders castle is mounting.
Lauderdale Estates want to turn more than 50 hectares of agricultural land at Thirlestane Castle at Lauder into a holiday park.
An initial planning application suggests it would host around 500 static caravans, lodges and eco-cabins, as well as offering stances for around 50 touring caravans.
Lauder residents are unhappy that Scottish Borders Council has decided not to carry out a full environmental impact assessment ahead of a more detailed application being submitted.
In a report to be considered by councillors, townsfolk also hit out at what one resident describes as an “absolute eyesore”.
Kim Shaw-Walker says: “Lauder does not have the infrastructure to support this, and it would be an absolute eyesore on the entire landscape.
“There are not sufficient services in Lauder to manage to influx of what 500-plus caravans would bring, and it would make life an absolute nightmare.”
In a joint letter of objection, Alison and Rob Catalana, express concerns about the impact the development would have on parking.
They say: “Tourists would predominately arrive at the proposed site by car and travel to and from the site by car, including to the town centre.
“This would substantially add to the traffic on the A68 and reduce parking availability in town.
“How will the applicant ensure that the static caravans remain available for holidaymakers and do not become residential units, which would be contrary to the council’s housing in the countryside policies?
“We understand this application is about creating business, but valuable agricultural land will be lost. The site currently is used as grazing land.”
Stephen Potts adds: “In my view, a development of the scale proposed is significantly disproportionate to the current size of the town and imposes substantial foreseeable impacts.
“There appears to be no provision or requirement for an impact assessment to consider these wider effects at the screening stage, but I submit that a detailed assessment of these impacts, positive and negative, will clearly be required as part of any full planning application.”
Lauderdale Estates has already indicated it will commission landscape, cultural heritage, flood-risk, transport and ecology assessments ahead of a full planning application being submitted.
Planning officer Scott Shearer states: “Whilst it is not considered that the environmental effects are liable to be so significant as to warrant a full impact study, there is still considerable potential for there to be environmental effects which may be unacceptable in their impacts upon the environment, local receptors, the site and the surrounding area.”
Environmental impact assessments are required for developments deemed likely to have a significant effect on their surroundings.