Plan to extend Duns boundary with ten new homes refused

Planners say the application is not a justifiable extension to the Duns boundary.Planners say the application is not a justifiable extension to the Duns boundary.
Planners say the application is not a justifiable extension to the Duns boundary.
A bid to build a row of ten detached family homes on prime agricultural land in a Berwickshire village has been refused.

A planning in principle application was submitted to Scottish Borders Council by Robert Lamont for the new private tenure homes on land east of Kirkwell House at Preston in Duns.

The applicant held an online public event prior to the application being submitted, as well as consulting with Duns Community Council.

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SBC’s landscape architect raised an objection to the bid on the grounds that the proposals “underestimate substantial changes to local landscape character, diminishing the strong containing edge to Duns as identified in the Landscape Capacity Study.”

The proposal was said to be outwith Duns boundary as shown in the Proposed Local Development Plan and was not “job-generating, affordable housing nor does it offer significant community benefits worth outweighing protection of the boundary”.

Duns Community Council raised objections to the housing bid on the grounds of it being outwith the LDP settlement boundary and over the loss of prime arable land.

Additionally, 12 local households objected to the plan and two offered support.

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In response the applicant and his agent addressed the impact on the landscape, stating that the proposal would not be visible from Duns Castle or associated loch.

They contended that with new planting, the development would integrate with the natural and built setting of Duns from various viewpoints and that landscape impacts would be no more than ‘moderate’.

Historic Environment Scotland raised no objections to the application, accepting the development would change the character of this part of the landscape but that there would be no significant negative impacts on the inventory site.

However, when members of the council’s Planning and Building Standards Committee met on Monday, June 5, they agreed by a majority to support principal planning officer Craig Miller’s asserion that the proposed development would “not constitute a justifiable extension to the settlement”.