HE may have been dead for more than 80 years, but Selkirk-born artist Tom Scott has played a pivotal role in securing planning permission for a new house on the outskirts of the royal burgh.
Actually, it was a painting by Scott which played a vital part in police officer Garry Cross gaining consent for the new building at Hainingrig Cottage.
Scottish Borders councillor Nicholas Watson, a member of the planning committee who lives at Upper Faldonside near Selkirk, got in touch with The Wee Paper this week to explain how Scott and his work had proved instrumental in securing planning permission for Mr Cross.
“In November, I met Garry Cross, a policeman in Hawick, and heard how he was having difficulty with SBC planners who didn’t want him to rebuild a ruined cottage at the Haining higher than a single storey,” said Councillor Watson.
“It is hard to tell from the existing ruins whether or not there was a second floor. But a few days later I happened upon a Tom Scott watercolour on the internet, called ‘In the Haining, Selkirk’, in what looked like a remarkably similar setting. Blown up, there is a sign of an upper storey window, and possibly a fireplace, so I sent it to Mr Cross suggesting he showed it to the planners. Recently, a one-and-a-half storey rebuild was approved.
“It would be nice to think that Tom Scott made the difference.”
Hainingrig Cottage is described by SBC planning department as being a redundant stone building with no roof, south of Selkirk in an open site surrounded by land used for forestry plantation.
The structure had planning approval for reinstatement as a single-storey cottage with rear extension, but Mr Cross wanted to increase the height of the roofline to allow for additional accommodation to be created. The ruins of the cottage will have to be demolished to make way for the new building project, but the existing stone from the original building will be re-used.
Scott, who was born in Selkirk in the former Southern Reporter office building at 54 High Street and died in 1927, was primarily a watercolourist.
He achieved fame for his historical paintings which reflected a lifelong interest in the archaeology and history of the area. His work was mainly comprised of landscapes of southern Scotland and illustrations of local legends and stories.
Scott painted ‘In the Haining, Selkirk’ in 1902 and the watercolour measures 15 x 21 inches. It came up for auction last year, but did not sell.
Councillor Watson is pleased the painting proved useful.
He said: “The views from this site are fantastic and I think Mr Cross is very lucky to have such a beautiful site for a house – and it’s nice that Tom Scott had a bit of influence over the situation.”