Couple win appeal over plans for home near Lilliesleaf

The owners of a Borders planning firm have won their bid to have a home built on land to the south of Linthill Country House, near Lilliesleaf.

Land adjacent to River Cottage at Linthill, near Lilliesleaf.
Land adjacent to River Cottage at Linthill, near Lilliesleaf.

Tim and Toni-Jane Ferguson had their plans for a large house and stand-alone stables on land once part of the Linthill estate rejected by council planners as they felt their location would not sit well with existing buildings there.

The pair, owners of Ferguson Planning in Galashiels, appealed against that decision, however, and Scottish Borders Council’s local review body this week gave them the thumbs-up.

Tim Ferguson, owner of Ferguson Planning in Galashiels.

In a report to the committee’s meeting yesterday, planning officer Stuart Wilkes recommended that councillors refuse the appeal.

He wrote: “Firstly, Linthill is a group of buildings based at and around the walled garden and existing converted estate buildings. The proposed site has no direct or immediate relationship or connection to these structures.

“Secondly, and contrary to the existing sense of a relatively compact group of structures being encountered sequentially at and around the perimeter of the walled garden and within the stables buildings, the development of the site would promote a ribbon character of development.

“Thirdly, the site has no existing, logical or natural eastern limit, such that the development of this land would be liable to promote a greater expansion eastwards into the remainder of the field.

“To take it to its logical conclusion, this spread would result in an eastern annexe that may be larger than the original building group.”

However, the majority of councillors sitting on the committee disagreed with that advice and voted to overturn their officers’ knockback.

Galashiels councillor Andy Anderson said: “The question is is this a ribbon development?

“I notice the landscape officer has said that the integrity of the building group will be maintained.

“Looking at the way the development is going, it seems to me to make sense.

“I would have concerns over further development of the field this proposal is situated in, however.”

Kelso councillor Simon Mountford was also supportive of the development, saying: “I’m very sympathetic towards this application.

“One of the things we try to do is create good-quality developments, and this is going to be a high-quality extension to an existing building group.

“In terms of design and location, I have no problems with this whatsoever.

“They’re trying to build a hard border to the site and I think that will enhance the building group.”

Jedburgh councillor Scott Hamilton expressed some reservations over the siting of the development but came down in favour of it, adding: “I was quite sympathetic to this.

“It’s certainly in keeping with the buildings which are there, but looking at the site plan now, there is the potential for ribbon development.

“On balance, I’m cautiously leaning towards overturning the officers’ recommendation.”

Councillors voted by six to one to overturn the previous rejection of the bid and granted planning permission in principle for the development.

Planners will get another chance to have their say on the development, however, as the Fergusons, of Bowden, near Newtown, are now being asked to submit more detailed plans.