It’s time for some councillors to look at their own ‘house’

BRICKBATS often get hurled at Scottish Borders Council over the time it can take to process planning applications.

Well, last week, there was a prime example of why this can sometimes be the case when the planning committee deferred a decision on proposals for a modernist-style house in Gattonside.

Not only were there no objections from either Melrose or Gattonside community councils, the council’s own planning officer recommended approval.

Even executive member for planning, Councillor Carolyn Riddell-Care – herself the vociferous champion of better house design for the Borders – was in favour of the scheme by acclaimed Portobello architect, Matthew Johnson.

And in three pages of comments on our website, not one was negative about Mr Johnson’s design.

However, three throwaway derisory comments from councillors saw the whole thing stalled in order for a site visit to take place.

Yet Gattonside is no stranger to modern architecture, with a number of properties designed by leading Scottish modernist architects in the years since the war.

Yes, many of the house styles in Gattonside are of the chocolate box-lid cottage type, but they were not always there.

And, surely, whatever your opinion, those who pronounce on such matters have to be able to reach a higher level of debate than simply uttering puerile comments such as “something from a Star Trek film”, or “like a pigeon loft on top of a health centre”.

Everyone is always banging on in the Borders about attracting investment and retaining more of our young people.

Well, we won’t do either if we don’t occasionally lift our gaze from our own navels.