D-Day for pioneering retailer’s woodland plan in Galashiels

The woodland hut in question.The woodland hut in question.
The woodland hut in question.
D-Day awaits for a pioneering Borders retailer’s bid to convert a former kennel into a recreational hut as part of an ambitious 10-year woodland plan in Galashiels.

Adam Elder is one of the founders of Why Not?, an outlet which brings locally made or sourced products for sale under one roof.

Mr Elder last year submitted a planning application to Scottish Borders Council to extend a dilapidated former estate building east of Craigmyle Park at Peel Wood near Clovenfords into a recreational timber hut.

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The application was part of a decade-long woodland management plan for the land in consultation with the council and NatureScot.

In his submission, Mr Elder said the hut would make it possible to be on site in all weather conditions and to stay overnight.

The plan was to renovate and construct the building from fallen timber at Peel Wood, cut and processed at Borders sawmills.

But the application generated more than a dozen objection comments and the application was withdrawn in October.

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Now the bid is back on the agenda and it is to be considered by members of Scottish Borders Council’s Planning and Building Standards Committee when they meet on Monday, August 7.

And councillors considering the bid will be recommended to approve it, with a report to the committee stating: “The proposal is not for a business use, so no business case is required. Nor is it for a tourism use, so compliance with the region’s tourism strategy is not required. Though the occupancy of the building may potentially generate more activity, it would do so on a small scale, providing amenity for the owner of the land and facilitate existing woodland management activities. A condition can regulate the use to that effect”.

Opponents labelled the bid a ‘Trojan Horse’ application which would lead to further expansion of the site in time.

One objector from Clovenfords said: “As residents at Craigmyle we have already had to put up with people coming from all over to Glenkinnon, just over the stream from this area, where there was a camping area and fire pit.

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“We had to put up with the noise, fires and BBQs, broken glass in the river, rubbish all over the place – and worst of all people using the area as a toilet but not digging a hole to bury their deposits. We do not want to attract such people into the area we live in.”

In a support comment, one contributor said: “As neighbours to the proposed site we have seen the rapid decay of the building that was previously a kennel, due to a lack of remedial action by the previous owner. It is therefore encouraging to see that Mr Elder, as the new owner of the property and adjacent woodland, is willing to invest time and effort in restoring the building to new and exciting functional use”.

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