Plea for rethink over plans for pyramid temple near Peebles rejected by council

A view of Andrew Cleghorn's land at Kirkburn, near Cardrona, from the churchyard there.
A view of Andrew Cleghorn's land at Kirkburn, near Cardrona, from the churchyard there.

A bid to build a towering pagan temple to provide space for multi-faith worship near Peebles has been thrown out.

Applicant Andrew Cleghorn, director of Cleek Poultry, wanted to build the 29m-tall triangular building on his land south west of the old Kirkburn parish church at Kirkburn, near Cardrona.

Mr Cleghorn said the proposed steel-clad structure was intended to provide space for rest, respect and rehabilitation.

He added that the 450sq m pyramid had been designed as what was described as a ‘planet energy generator’.

However, members of Scottish Borders Council’s local review body, considering his application on Monday after he requested a rethink of council officers’ refusal to grant permission in October, questioned whether there was a need for such a temple there.

They also noted that the site is close to Our Lady’s Church and its graveyard and said they felt that the proposed structure, around three times taller than surrounding trees, would not fit in with the landscape.

Kelso councillor Simon Mountford said the plans were “completely inappropriate for a rural setting”.

Galashiels councillor Andy Anderson added: “Is there a justifiable need? I do not think that has been demonstrated.

“There’s no screening from the road, and the scale of the proposed building is significant. It does not sit well in this landscape.”

Members of the committee unanimously decided to uphold the officers’ decision.

The proposed temple is the latest in a series of applications made by Mr Cleghorn for developments on his eight-acre smallholding at Kirkburn.

In 2016, he failed to get planning consent to erect a statue of the mythical Herne the Hunter, along with an altar and sacred well.

He has also had applications for a two-storey cold-storage shed for poultry and a flotation pool for cattle turned down by planners over recent years.