Councillor puzzled by Cardrona homes switch

A DECISION by Scottish Borders Council’s planning committee to refuse consent for seven new houses at Cardrona has been overturned.

Scottish government reporter Philip Hutchison has concluded councillors were wrong in February when they rejected the application from Eskdale Homes.

The firm wanted to build on land between C-listed Cardrona Mains farmhouse, built in 1816, and the B7068 back road from Innerleithen to Peebles.

But despite a recommendation to endorse the bid by the local authority’s own planning officials, the committee, on the casting vote of chairman Councillor Jock Houston, vetoed the proposal.

They judged it would have an unacceptable impact on the farmhouse and, by dint of its design and lay-out, be out of character with nearby residential properties.

Eskdale Homes, which had already made design adjustments, including the replacement of box dormers with roof lights, after original plans were thrown out last October, lodged an appeal.

The company claimed that at no time was it asked by the committee to reconsider either the layout or the effect on the listed building of its proposal and contended the development complied with all relevant council policies.

And after receiving written submissions from both sides, Mr Hutchison agreed.

He found the new houses would not adversely affect the setting of the farmhouse and, at worst, any effect would be neutral.

He stated: “All other material considerations run broadly in support of the proposed development.”

His decision sparked an angry reaction this week from Councillor Gavin Logan (Tweeddale East) who had moved for rejection in February.

He commented: “To say I am disappointed is a huge understatement. Cardrona is an attractive village with a good mix of well-designed modern houses and a small traditional area around the farmhouse where there is already a well-designed and attractive steading conversion.

“All the planning committee was trying to do was make the development complementary to this traditional part of the village.

“It seems the reporter has paid scant regard to these motives and imposed a decision which can only be described as puzzling.”