Developer hopes it’s third time lucky for housing bid

The developer behind a family-friendly housing development on a greenfield site in Peebles is hoping to get the green light from planners.

By Paul Kelly
Monday, 20th July 2020, 5:16 pm
Updated Monday, 20th July 2020, 5:26 pm
How 22 new homes would look at Venlaw in Peebles.
How 22 new homes would look at Venlaw in Peebles.

A proposal has been submitted to Scottish Borders Council for 22 detached homes with gardens and car parking east of Knapdale at Venlaw, adjacent to Edinburgh Road.

The site, subject to two previous failed planning bids, is an open meadow with scattered trees rising up from the existing settlement of Peebles in the valley bottom.

The site would be accessed from the single lane road leading to Venlaw Farm and the now-vacant Venlaw Castle Hotel, on the eastern edge of town.

The developer is Glasgow-based Carmichael Homes and Interiors.

Company founder Scott Carmichael said: “We bought the site a number of years ago. The first people who had it were actually trying to put too many houses on the site and we have tried to be quite sympathetic with it. We put an application in a number of years ago for 40 units which was not approved but we have come back and are using a national firm of architects that deals with a lot of rural and more sensitive applications.

“If you look at the local plan and the shortage of housing there’s a lot of sites identified in the Borders that cannot be delivered and our ethos is that this is a very deliverable site, we are proposing houses that would really fit into the landscape because of the materials we have chosen.

“We believe that we can deliver a site that fills a need, great family homes, but more importantly really sympathetic to the countryside, even though it’s in the middle of Peebles. Since we put the planning application in I have been inundated with emails from people that say they would really be interested in a house there.

“I would be hopeful that we will get a fair hearing for this because I think we are helping Peebles with a shortage of houses and not affecting anything with the bridge, which is going to cost an arm and a leg.”

A report from Newcastle-based architects Norr says: “The development is focused on creating modern living accommodation with a holistic solution for housing in Peebles’ naturally hilly landscape.

“The proposal aims to deliver 22 high quality residential properties with associated gardens and car-parking spaces within the existing rural context of Peebles. The site is visually prominent from a number of locations due to the steep incline of the slope and the open landscape character of the valley. By locating the proposals to the lower portion of the site and following the linear character of the existing dwelling to the A703, any visual impact is minimised.”

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, on site visual assessment has not been possible, and instead a desk-based review of the visibility impact has been undertaken with outline findings submitted with the initial planning bid.