Kelso link road bid dropped after sparking opposition

Controversial plans for an access road through a housing development have been ditched after concerns were raised over the potential risk to pupils at a nearby primary school.

By Paul Kelly
Wednesday, 22nd January 2020, 4:17 pm
East Broomlands at Kelso.
East Broomlands at Kelso.

Kelso building firm M and J Ballantyne has now withdrawn an application it put in early last year for the creation of an access road through its Broomlands estate in the town.

Those plans raised the hackles of people living locally, sparking 29 objections, most of them worried about the potential risk increased traffic would pose to pupils attending Broomlands Primary School.

Parking problems at the Ednam Road school have been a cause of concern since it opened in January 2018, and residents feared the access plans would worsen that situation.

Now, in response to that backlash, M and J Ballantyne has withdrawn its application for a road to nowhere, east of 12 Broomlands, it insists it had no desire to build in the first place.

The company is instead being asked to consider creating a pathway and cycleway as an access through the estate.

In a joint statement, Kelso councillors Euan Robson and Tom Weatherston voiced objections to the proposals, saying: “The creation of the proposed access for vehicles will create more problems than it will solve.

“A properly designed footpath and cycleway would, however, be beneficial.”

They added: “We have been concerned for many months about traffic congestion in and around Broomlands Primary School.

“When the whole Broomlands development is eventually completed, there will be many more vehicles passing the school entrances and approaches than would seem desirable or perhaps were envisaged when the original Broomlands Primary School was built.

“That will be the case with or without the approval of an access road.

“However, if the access road is constructed, a greater length of carriageway where children are dropped off or collected from vehicles will be exposed to more traffic than at present.

“Cars are often parked between the entrance to Farrier Court and the narrow and quite angular bend just to the east of the entrance to the old Broomlands mansion.

“There are also three cul-de-sacs with a junction on this section of road.

“It would seem to us to be unwise to increase the risk of accidents by adding vehicle movements in either direction at this location.

“Unless the access is for pedestrians and cyclists only, it will present a hazard to all pedestrians.

“It cannot be considered as safe as a roadway wide enough for both vehicles and pedestrians on a pavement.”

A further objection came from Alice Miller, of Broomlands House, saying: “Currently Broomlands House sits at the head of a cul-de-sac and is a quiet, safe, secure environment with minimal road traffic.

“If this application is successful, it will create a through road that would significantly increase traffic and the associated noises, as well as increasing pollution levels.”

Michael Ballantyne, managing director of the building firm, said it was Scottish Borders Council planners who had insisted on creating the link road in the first place, explaining: “We never wanted this road. We still don’t want this link road. We need to extend the existing road within the field, but we don’t want the link road to Broomlands.

“We have made that categorically clear since we started East Broomlands 15 years ago. It was that long ago.

“We didn’t want it because it’s a separate entity to Broomlands, which was finished in the early 2000s, and then the next again field is East Broomlands, and, as far as we are concerned, Broomlands and East Broomlands are two separate developments altogether, albeit that they are next door to each other, and it was the council that wanted this.

“When we put in planning for phase six, known as North Broomlands, the roads department and the planning came along and said that we would not get planning consent unless a link road was put in to Broomlands, so we were stuck between a rock and a hard place.

“We wanted to get planning for North Broomlands, so the only reason this access road was put in was to gain planning for North Broomlands.

“Subsequent to it being put in and all the hoo-ha and all the objections from everybody, which I am quite happy about, I said to the council ‘what is the difference here between phase three, phase four and phase five?’, which we’ve just finished.

“They didn’t show any link. There was nothing to be built at the end of these roads.

“The council then agreed that they didn’t need the link road to grant us planning for North Broomlands.”