Conversion of former care home put on hold

Gattonside House.
Gattonside House.

Plans to convert a 19th century country house at Gattonside into flats have been put on hold for up to another three years now an appeal for more time by a prospective developer has been approved.

The Brothers of Charity, a Roman Catholic organisation founded in 1807, was given the thumbs-up by Scottish Borders Council planners in March 2011 to split Gattonside House into 15 flats and to build 44 houses to the south east of the near-200-year-old property.

However, negotiations over how big a bill for developer’s contributions would be handed out took years to complete, leading to full planning permission only being granted in December 2016.

The Brothers of Charity, together with Edinburgh developer Image Estates, also wanted to reduce the number of affordable housing units required from 14 to five, but a compromise figure of nine has since been agreed.

On top of that, the Rome-based charity will have to contribute £287,530 for education, £81,550 towards the redevelopment of the Borders Railway route and £29,500 for play facilities.

The commencement period for the development ran out in February this year, leading to a plea for a three-year extension period.

That application was approved by the council’s planning and building standards committee last week.

Recommending approval, principal planning officer Barry Fotheringham told the committee: “The principle of development on this land has clearly been established by inclusion in the local development plan.

“Given the suspensive nature of planning conditions, sufficient justification has been made for an additional three-year period.

“Furthermore, there are no local or national policy constraints that would not support the renewal of consent.

“A further listed building consent will be required for the conversion of Gattonside House. This will be considered separately.”

Councillors were advised that the acceptance of a new contribution agreement would be straightforward as terms had already been agreed for the previous planning application, so councillors voted unanimously to approve a new three-year commencent period for the conversion of the former care home.

Four-storey Gattonside House, a category-B listed building, was constructed by Darnick builders John and Thomas Smith in 1826.