Appeal against rejection of plans for low-carbon homes in Hawick to be heard next week

Four low-carbon homes proposed for a plot west of Thornwood Lodge in Hawick's Weensland Road.
Four low-carbon homes proposed for a plot west of Thornwood Lodge in Hawick's Weensland Road.

A rejected application for four low-energy houses in Hawick is set to go to appeal next week. 

East Lothian-based Borders Low Carbon Developments originally submitted plans to build four semi-detached houses on the north side of Weensland Road, opposite Mansfield House, in December.

However, planners at Scottish Borders Council rejected the application, citing concerns over the amenity of the local landscape and the impact on a neighbouring property. 

In response, the Humbie firm has lodged an appeal with the council, and it will be heard by its local review body on Monday, August 19. 

A statement submitted by Galashiels-based Ferguson Planning on behalf of the developer reads: “Concerns relating to residential amenity are considered to be unjustified in this case as the proposal will in no way have unacceptable impacts on the residential amenity of 8 Weensland Terrace. 

“There are no windows on the elevation facing Weensland Terrace and the proposed setback positioning of the development will not cause unacceptable disruption to daylight reaching the rear of the adjacent property. 

“Zero or low-carbon developments are unfamiliar to the majority of people, which has then led to a number of barriers to their development. 

“The implementation of more low-carbon housing in the Borders should be encouraged and not refused on the basis of an untraditional design. 

“Despite there being UK-wide emission targets, without a clear and ambitious policy drive there remains little incentive to change current planning practice.

“This should be seen as an opportunity to take a step in the right direction towards reducing carbon emissions in the Borders and to help promote sustainable development.”

Council planners are still opposed to the application, and in a submission to councillors, planning officer Stuart Herkes writes: “The proposal is highly unsympathetic to the amenity of the site and surrounding area, being of a design and layout that would not be in keeping with the character of the surrounding area and which would impact unacceptably upon the residential amenity of neighbouring properties, principally through its unsympathetic design and through the unnecessary exaggeration of the extent of impacts that are all readily capable of being avoided within a more sensitively designed and laid out scheme. 

“There are no material considerations that outweigh the requirement to determine this application in strict accordance with planning policy, including the applicant’s stated concern to provide a carbon-neutral development.”