Controversial 71-home development in Peebles being recommended for approval

Wealthy landowners are suing a leading property consultant
Wealthy landowners are suing a leading property consultant

A controversial housing development in Peebles is being recommended for approval by councillors next week despite widespread opposition from neighbours of the site.

West Lothian-based Persimmon Homes East Scotland has applied to Scottish Borders Council for consent to build a 71-home housing estate on farmland beside the South Parks industrial estate.  

However, its plans have come in for criticism from residents, sparking objections from 112 different households and the town’s community council.

A further 28 letters in support of the application have been sent to the council, though.

Concerns have been raised about the capacity of the 2.3-hectare site, pressure on local amenities and safety on nearby Caledonian Road.

One objector, Terry Dakin, of Edderston Ridge View, writes: “Access to this development is only via Caledonian Road. This road is full to capacity already, and putting over 100 extra vehicles on this road is a recipe for disaster.

“The local community cannot support the extra burden upon resources such as doctors, schools, dentists, water and sewage without substantial increase in provision of these services.

“The committee appear to be on another planet when it comes to investigating the many objections to this development. Maybe if you lived here, you would see that all points raised are very valid points and must be considered.”

Peebles Community Council says that Persimmon’s plans go far beyond the number of houses proposed in the regional council’s local development plan, complaining: “As Persimmon points out in its design and access statement, Scottish Borders Council has stated that for this particular site the indicative value of units is 50.

“Persimmon have therefore made an application that is outside of the scope of the local development plan.

“There is little doubt that if this application is allowed to succeed, the residential amenity of this part of Peebles will be damaged severely and contrary to planning policy.

“The scale and form of the proposed development is unacceptable, and, inevitably, any such development will lead to increased traffic and noise.

“This application is in breach of a number of planning policies.

“The traffic assessment and road safety report are flawed.

“The developers, for reasons of their own, have taken this application beyond and outside the scope of the current local development plan.

“It is the view off the community council that this application should be rejected.”

Peebles Civic Society also objects, pointing out that the number of houses proposed is 40% more than are earmarked for the site in the local development plan and voicing concerns that Caledonian Road does not have the capacity to safely cater for the additional traffic 71 homes would generate.

Kerry Scott, a director of neighbouring firm Scotland Overland, objects too, saying: “Access along Caledonian Road is currently problematic due to volume of traffic. The proposal to erect a further 71 houses , with an inevitable increase in traffic, would cause further signficant congestion.”

A quarter of the homes proposed would be desgnated as affordable.

Persimmon’s plans for detached, semi-detached and terraced homes offering two to four bedrooms south of South Parks will be discussed at a meeting of the council’s planning and building standards committee on Monday, March 4.

Principal planning officer Craig Miller is recommending that councillors approve the application subject to various conditions.

In a report to the committee, he writes: “The proposals are considered to be an acceptable development of an allocated housing site within the local development plan, providing additional private and affordable houses to meet demand and local need.

“The density, design and layout of the development comply with policies and guidance and the impacts on visual amenity, road safety and infrastructure are considered acceptable, mitigated by conditions and contributions where required.”