New affordable homes for Lilliesleaf approved

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Councillors have concluded that 16 new houses in Lilliesleaf will not “ruin” the character of the village.

That was the claim of one of seven neighbours who objected to the two-phase proposal from Galashiels builder Murray & Burrell for the development on a large field east of Muselie Drive.

The firm was seeking full planning consent for 10 two-bedroomed terraced homes, three of which will front onto Main Street, as well as outline permission for another six units on the outer edge of a site which stretches as far north as the Ale Water.

Monday’s meeting of Scottish Borders Council’s planning committee heard that the applicants were first given consent for a residential development in the field in 1990, but this had lapsed.

Explicit in the proposal was that seven of the new houses would be “affordable” and would be acquired by the council’s arms-length provider Bridge Homes.

The objectors, drawn from the 29 neighbouring households, raised a series of concerns. One claimed there was no need for further housing in the village as numerous properties were currently for sale.

Others feared the value of houses which would be overlooked by new homes would decrease while it was also claimed that a settlement with neither shops nor public transport was inappropriate for “houses aimed at lower income families”.

A recurring theme among the dissenters was the perceived inadequacy of the 22 parking spaces which the applicant will provide.

But local planning officer Andrew Evans recommended approval of the plans. Mr Evans said the new homes “will have a positive effect on the street scene and wider appearance of the village”.