Village housing bid withdrawn amid tree concerns

A bid to build two cottages in a Borders village which would have required the felling of a number of mature trees has been withdrawn after neighbours raised deep concerns over the potential impact on the natural habitat of the area.

By Paul Kelly
Thursday, 9th June 2022, 2:15 pm
Drawing of the proposed location of the site. The application to build two homes there has now been withdrawn.
Drawing of the proposed location of the site. The application to build two homes there has now been withdrawn.

Glasgow-based Intizar Hussain had submitted a planning application to Scottish Borders Council to build Cherry Blossom Cottage and Apple Blossom Cottage, proposed six and four bedroom properties respectively, on a woodland site east of Medwyn Lodge in Medwyn Road at West Linton.

But the application raised the hackles of neighbours with regard to loss of privacy, inadequate drainage, design issues and the heights of the proposed properties.

There was particular concern that the developments would require removal of a number of mature deciduous trees, with claims that would destroy the natural habitat of native bird-life, deer, hedgehogs and bats which are regularly observed in the woodland.

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One of the opponents, Ann Cumber, of Medwyn Road, said: “The current use of this site is as a mature woodland. The development as proposed would necessitate the removal of all of the existing trees with subsequent loss of habitat. This would also be a significant loss to the mature tree-lined nature character to Medwyn Road.

“It appears that the plans have been thrown together without regard to this.”

The concerns led to planning officer Ranald Dods advising that the application be withdrawn, a request which has been agreed.

He said: “The trees which are on the site, although not covered by a tree preservation order, do add significantly to the amenity of the area. As it stands, this application would not appear to comply with the policies of the Local Development Plan.

“No ecological surveys have been included with this application to give any comfort that there would be no negative impacts on protected species. Given our view that the principle is not acceptable, I would not suggest the applicant goes to further expense commissioning surveys. I would, however, suggest that rather than have the application refused, the application is withdrawn.”

In response, Alastair Hood, director of Livingston-based AFH Consulting and Engineering Ltd, agents for the applicant, said: “After speaking to my client I have been advised to notify you that it’s the client’s wish to withdraw the application at this point in time.”