Plans for nine affordable homes in Innerleithen given thumbs-up

Plans to build nine houses in Innerleithen’s Peebles Road have been approved.

Thursday, 2nd January 2020, 1:44 pm
How houses being planned in Peebles Road in Innerleithen would look.

Those two-storey homes are to be built by Cumbrian firm Cubby Construction for Selkirk-based Eildon Housing Association with funding from the Scottish Government.

They’re part of a green pilot initiative involving research into low-carbon construction and design standards.

That pilot project is being undertaken in collaboration with Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh environmental architecture research unit and is being part-funded by the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre and Scottish Borders Council.

The application, for a brownfield site east of Tweed View and north of St Ronan’s Health Centre in Buchan Place, is a scaled-down version of an earlier one for 16 flats.

That previous application was withdrawn in response to concerns voiced by council planning officers about the scale and design of the development proposed and the lack of a suitable access.

Building 16 homes there was deemed to be overdevelopment as the site is only earmarked for five in the council’s current local development plan, but nine is judged to be an acceptable compromise by planning officer Scott Shearer in his report on the application, now approved under delegated powers.

He writes: “The number of units proposed does exceed the site’s indicative capacity by four, but indicative capacities within the local development plan are a guide, not a target.

“The overall number of units is now much closer to the site’s indicative capacity, with the slight increase assisting to manage slippage in the wider supply of new affordable homes to contribute to help meeting the Scottish Government’s targets for new affordable housing development.”

The design and layout of the new bid are also judged to be much improved, with Mr Shearer writing: “The revised application seeks to address the design issues raised during the handling of the previous application.

“In comparison to the previous proposal, accommodation is spread across the site rather than just being contained in one large block; the ridge height is lower, with a storey removed; the combined footprint of the two terraced blocks is smaller than the footprint of the original building; the buildings are set back further from Peebles Road; access is provided from Tweed View; and private gardens have been introduced.

“The building design has taken a completely different form from the original proposals and is more simplified.

“The valley roof design is not an approach which is successful in many locations, but there is a context for this in Innerleithen which is being developed at Caerlee Mill.

“The proposals may not match the design of any buildings next to the site. However, the design approach does relate to some of Innerleithen’s wider built context, while also adding to the mixture of architectural styles at the western side of the town outside the conservation area.

“While the buildings are sizeable terraced rows, their narrow gable frontages have a slimming effect.

“ Clearly this is still a dense development, especially because the buildings are viewed beside a single-storey property. However, the proposals are not detrimentally dominant and instead are of a scale and design which can integrate into the built context of the surrounding area.”

The revised application sparked only one objection, from the nearby Co-op store, but that was dismissed by Mr Shearer, saying: “The objection raised on behalf of the Co-op concerned with site access does not appear an issue as the only vehicle access is proposed from Tweed View and not the Co-op site.

“If there is any issue concerned with access land owned by the Co-op, that is a private legal matter.”

Approval has been granted subject to conditions including an agreement being signed ensuring the homes are made available as affordable housing.