Mossilee garages safe for now after plans put on hold

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Galashiels residents have welcomed the news that plans to demolish 17 garages to make way for new family homes have been put on hold.

Scottish Borders Housing Association has shelved an application to build five three-bedroom homes on a site in Mossilee Road currently occupied by garages and two car parks.

That move comes after residents there widely opposed the plans, claiming that, if approved, the development would lead to parking problems and road safety issues.

More than a dozen residents turned out at the town’s community council meeting last week to share their views, only to hear that the Selkirk-based social housing landlord has shelved the plans.

Henry Coyle, its director of assets and property services, said: “Our planning application will be withdrawn at this point so that we can re-evaluate community benefits and potential solutions. The funding is to be transferred to a project in another town.”

That news was welcomed by Mossilee Crescent resident Steve Irwin.

Speaking on behalf of his neighbours too, he asked: “We are obviously happy you have withdrawn the plans at the moment, but does this mean you will just be resubmitting in the future?”

Criticising the way the neighbourhood, from which 109 objection letters were sent to Scottish Borders Council, had been treated, Mr Irwin asked: “Was there any consideration given to consultation with the community on the plans?

“Your consultation was purely with the garage renters, not the community that would be affected by the loss of parking spaces.

“You said you have been consulting with the community all along, but you have never even been into Mossilee Road or Mossilee Crescent.”

He claimed that the first residents knew of the plans was when garage owners received letters advising them of plans to re-acquire the plots.

Another resident added: “The garages and car parking were an integral part of the scheme when it was built 50 or 60 years ago. You are trying to take away car parks when there’s nowhere on the road to park. It’s robbing Peter to pay Paul. We have been totally disregarded, and it’s an atrocity.”

Mr Coyle refused to rule out a revised application being submitted in the future, adding: “We wrote to the owners of the garages outlining the plans, and the public consultation kicks off when the planning application goes in.”