Green light for new homes on site of former Galashiels church

Scottish Borders Council has granted planning approval for two new housing blocks on the site of a former Galashiels church.

By Paul Kelly
Thursday, 21st April 2022, 12:34 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st April 2022, 12:34 pm
The proposed development at Gala Park, Galashiels.

The green light has been given for 20 affordable homes across two separate buildings on a site located in-between Gala Park to the north east and St Andrew’s Street to the west, on land where the now demolished B-listed St Aidan’s Church and church hall once stood.

One three and four storey block is to contain 15 flats and a second two storey complex will have four terraced townhouses with one flat above them.

When the application was originally submitted in late 2020 a number of objections were received over the scale of the development, submitted by Carlisle-based Cubby Construction Ltd, amid claims from one objector that it would “dominate the area and detract from its splendour and coherence”.

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In his report recommending approval, council planning officer Scott Shearer, addresses those concerns.

He says: “The siting of the development respects the positioning of the former church and church hall with the siting integrating with the position of other buildings on the surrounding streets.

“The easterly block which faces on to Gala Park is a large building. The site is accustomed to accommodating a large building as the church which previously stood on the site was a large building.

“There is some context for some taller residential building in the area with the four storey Cornmill Court positioned at the foot of Gala Park.

“Within this urban development the scale of the proposal does not necessarily appear to be over development of this site and avoids causing harmful visual impacts within the surrounding area.”

A design statement from Galashiels-based Cameron Strachan Yuill Architects says: “The approach is to replicate the overall scale of the main body of the previous church building, albeit with a contemporary interpretation.

“The development is a new landmark building for Galashiels that references the past, while looking to the future.”

Permission to demolish the former 19th century church was given in 2018 after conversion plans failed, with councillors agreeing that flattening it was the only economically viable option.