Plans for new houses in Minto approved despite opposition from villagers

A planning application for two identical homes in Minto has been approved despite widespread opposition from existing residents of the village. 

Thursday, 7th November 2019, 11:45 am
The two houses now being proposed near West Lodge in Minto.

Applicant Sally Haw initially put in a bid to build three identical one-and-a-half storey houses on land near the southern boundary of the village in May, but she scaled that proposed development down to two houses the month.

That compromise by Ms Haw, a professor of public and population health at Stirling University, failed to appease the 20 objectors to register protests with Scottish Borders Council’s planning department, however.

They explained their continued opposition to the proposed five-bedroom homes at a meeting of the council’s planning and building standards committee on Monday, October 7, with Simon Clew, one of their number, telling councillors: “We feel that the suburban and repetitive nature of the design is completely out of character with both the historic village and any recent developments.”

A decision was put on hold for a site visit that time round but was forthcoming at the committee’s latest meeting, held on Monday, and it went in Ms Haw’s favour. 

After hearing that planning officers were in favour of approving the plans, Tweeddale West councillor Eric Small said: “I think that if the whole site was used for the two houses, rather than just a section of it, I think it would fit better, but I’m not in disagreement with the officers, and I’m happy to go along with them.”

Kelso councillor Simon Mountford said: “These houses are, to my mind, well designed.

“They fit well within their individual plots, and I think that the division into two plots and the uniformity of the design does not seriously impact on the sense of place that Minto has. 

“I will support the officers’ recommendation on this.”

Two committee members, Tom Miers and Galashiels councillor Sandy Aitchison, were against approving the plans, though.

Leaderdale and Melrose councillor Mr Miers said: “My concern about this is the density for the site.

“What we have is an application that has moved from three houses across the whole site and has now gone to two houses across just over half the site. 

“I don’t think there’s a problem with the principle of development of the site. I just think it could be two houses on the whole site or one covering the area proposed.”

The application was put to a vote, with five councillors voting to approve it and Mr Miers and Mr Aitchison voting against.