THE four Newcastleton residents who made the 70-mile round trip from Newcastleton to Newtown on Monday were rewarded when a proposal for a new house in the village was rejected by the planning committee of Scottish Borders Council.
The four sat in the public gallery as councillors voted 6-4 to reject the bid of David Dalgleish to build a cottage-style home in a small area of garden in narrow Copshaw Lane.
The dissenters were among eight objectors to the development who claimed a new house could lead to the lane being blocked by parked cars. It would, they believed, result in the loss of a garden for the house at 32 South Hermitage Street and have an adverse effect of the village conservation area.
One resident wrote: “The purpose is purely for financial gain and the occupiers of the surrounding houses will be the ones who bear the true cost of this development.”
Urging rejection in the debating chamber was Councillor Ron Smith (Hawick and Hermitage).
“There are currently sheds and garages in the surrounding gardens, not houses,” said Mr Smith. “The views of residents who live there and know the difficulties with parking and loss of amenity, must be respected. This is an unacceptable infill development in a conservation village.”
Local planning officer Andrew Evans, however, recommended approval, citing the precedent of a relatively new house, Holly Cottage, which had been built in a rear garden, facing on to Ashwell Place, some 25 yards away from the proposed house,
And Councillor Jim Brown said he backed the proposal, if only for the fact it would remove leylandia trees from the garden plot.
While the rejection pleased the objectors in Copshaw, there was less to celebrate in the rural community of Craik, up the Borthwick Valley from Hawick.
Six residents had objected to the continued siting of a wooden cabin on a field north of Craik Farm steading.
Built as a demonstration unit, it is the only tangible evidence of an ambitious proposal for a holiday complex comprising 51 log cabins, complete with manager’s house, which has never come to fruition despite receiving planning consent in 2007.
On Monday, the committee heard that the removal of the structure by July, 2009, was an explicit condition of that consent.
And eight residents, along with Upper Teviotdale and Borthwick Water Community Council, tendered objections to a new application from Borders-based ISES Property Partnership for a renewal of the temporary permission governing the lone cabin.
The applicant submitted no supporting information, but Hilary Dixon, of nearby Craik Cottage, stated in her objection that it was planned to be “an occupied holiday home”.
She said the condition of the structure, which was discoloured and weather-beaten, gave cause for concern and she added: “An occupied dwelling needs services and access and should not be a negative influence on Craik which has long been one of the jewels in Hawick’s crown.
“Already, its steading area has been spoiled and it is an eysore since the purchaser was given permission to develop it.”
Mr Evans observed: “It is understood that the current economic climate has to a significant degree slowed progress of development of the cabin site. It could be some period of time before the larger development of the site proceeds.”
However, he noted that the 2007 consent had a lifespan of five years – until April 2012 – and he recommended extending temporary approval for the demonstration cabin until that date.
The committee agreed, but ordered that if the building was not repaired and restained – and the surrounding area tidied up – by that date, it should be removed immediately and the land re-instated.