RAF man’s return home suffers planning blow

A Royal Air Force serviceman’s bid to return to the Scottish Borders to take over the running of his family’s estate has suffered a setback.
One of the holiday cottages at Cavers Retreat.One of the holiday cottages at Cavers Retreat.
One of the holiday cottages at Cavers Retreat.

The Campbell family have lived and owned the Cavers Hillhead Estate, which includes Cavers Retreat Holiday Park, for more than 40 years.

But since the death in 2019 of William Campbell his 73-year-old widow has been unable to properly manage the 80-acre estate due to deteriorating ill-health and it is falling into a state of disrepair.

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As a result Mrs Campbell asked her eldest grandson to take over the running of the family business.

He plans to transfer from Moray, where he is a serving as a Royal Air Force non-commissioned officer, with his family in a bid to return the estate to “its former glory”.

In order to do so an application was submitted to Scottish Borders Council to build a bungalow for his family near his grandmother’s existing home, on a site located a short distance to the west of Hawick, off the A698 road to the A6088.

But the application has been refused by council planning officer Brett Taylor who deemed it contrary to countryside policy, saying: “It would constitute housing in the countryside that would not relate to the existing building group and would lead to an unjustified sporadic expansion of development into a previously undeveloped field.”

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A report from the applicant’s agents, Elgin-based ACJ Design, says: “Currently, with the applicant’s full time job, deployments, and ongoing training he is struggling to find the time he so desperately needs to travel the 450-mile round trip to assist in managing the estate.

“This is now beginning to take its toll on the entire family. As the eldest of Mrs Campbell’s grandchildren, the applicant, along with his wife and two children has been asked by his grandmother to move to Cavers Hillhead to take over the running of the estate.

“My client is keen to move to be closer enabling him to eventually take the stress from other family members, take over managing the family estate and Cavers Retreat and return it to its former glory by reinvigorating the Core Path 128 and surrounding woodland paths for walkers alike.

“Once there he also intends to expand Cavers Retreat by introducing campervan rentals, helping promote the Scottish Borders and improve tourism in the local area.”