Eight flats plan for former Selkirk Baptist church site

The site at the Valley, Selkirk, where the old Baptist Church once stood, is the location for a planning application for eight affordable homes.
The site at the Valley, Selkirk, where the old Baptist Church once stood, is the location for a planning application for eight affordable homes.

Plans to build eight affordable homes on a derelict site in the Valley, Selkirk, have been cautiously welcomed by the town’s community council.

The site, formerly the town’s Baptist Church and a joiners’ workshop, is situated across the road from O’Malley’s Sports Bar and has lain empty for more than 10 years.

Commenting on the proposals, the community council’s planning representative Ian King said: “The eight flats in the proposal are classed as affordable housing, which is a good thing to have close to the centre of town.

“But the development will be three-and-a-half storeys high, quite a change to the current open profile of the site that we have become used to.

“It will encroach onto the configuration of the road ... and it is almost going to be a pinch point at that location.

“I would imagine it is on the verge of viability, and I can’t presume we would be any better off.

“But if we want to have affordable housing in the town and fill gap sites such as this, we have to agree with this.”

The site has had previous approval for 10 flats, subject to legal agreement which was not completed, and the application was finally withdrawn.

In this new proposal, the units have been reduced from 10 to eight on account of the properties needing to comply with housing for varying needs standards.

The plans include discreetly-hidden parking on the ground floor, and the access to the building, which has deteriorated through age, will be upgraded as part of the works.

The proposed building, designed by Cameron’s Architects in Galashiels for Cubby Construction Ltd, is claimed to provide a “contemporary living environment, and homes that comply with housing for varying needs standards.”

The application states: “Traditionally sized openings form the main body of the elevations, and variation in design detail draws you around the building: giving each elevation a distinct, yet harmonised feel within the townscape.

However, yesterday (Wednesday), Historic Environment Scotland commented on the application, by way of letter, saying it had “assessed the application for our historic environment interests” and considered that the proposals had “the potential to affect” the Battle of Philiphaugh.

It added: “You should also seek advice from your archaeology and conservation service for matters including unscheduled archaeology and category B and C-listed buildings.”