Hawick farm’s glamping site plans approved on appeal

Proposals for three glamping pods near Hawick have been approved on appeal by councillors despite planning officers continuing to object.

Monday, 21st September 2020, 4:51 pm
What glamping pods proposed at Stouslie Farm, north-west of Hawick, would look like.

Applicant Carly Anderson had her initial bid to build three timber cabins at Stouslie Farm, north-west of the town, rejected by Scottish Borders Council planning officers, using delegated powers, in July due to their concerns about the visual impact of the development.

She’s now been given the go-ahead, however, after putting in an appeal via Edinburgh specialist architectural firm Glampitect and Galashiels consultant Ferguson Planning.

An appeal statement submitted by the latter reads: “The stated reason claimed that the proposed development contradicts local development plan policy as ‘the site occupies an isolated and exposed location’.

“The appointed planning officer considered that the proposed development ‘would fail to sympathetically integrate with the character, appearance and sense of place of the surrounding rural area’.

“The appellant does not accept that conflict exists between the design of the proposed development and the rural character of the surrounding area.

“It is important to note that the proposed glamping pods comprise timber construction and would be mostly screened by proposed hedge planting.

“Neither the decision notice or the report of handling establish what harmful impact would be created by a view of timber cabins, mostly screened by native hedging, in the countryside.

“It is also material that the highway access, and the small car park which fronts onto it, would be fully bounded by new hedging and would not be visible from the surrounding countryside.”

It adds: “The appellant and her family are seeking to diversify Stouslie Farm in order to secure a sustainable footing for the agricultural enterprise and provide continuity for future generations.

“They are attempting to secure modest diversification which makes efficient use of as little land as possible to secure the greatest returns.”

Mrs Anderson’s appeal was heard at a meeting of the council’s local review body held via video-link today, September 21, and councillors were urged by officers to give her plans, submitted in March, the thumbs-down once again.

A report submitted to councillors ahead of the meeting reads: “The development is contrary to planning policy and the local development plan in that the site occupies an isolated and exposed location where the landscape and visual impacts of the proposals would fail to sympathetically integrate with the character, appearance and sense of place of the surrounding rural area and the proposed landscaping does not provide sufficient mitigation of the resulting landscape and visual impacts.

“Other material considerations do not outweigh this conflict.

Despite that recommendation of repeated refusal of the application, councillors were happy with it and voted to give it the go-ahead.

East Berwickshire councillor Jim Fullarton said: “I’m an old, comfort-loving tourist, and this application, first of all, has a really good business case, and it covers all of my concerns about going away on holiday.

“It’s a beautiful view, and when you view it in the context of its surroundings, they are small structures, kind of like upturned boats, and they sit well in the landscape.

“I think Mrs Anderson and her family are looking at this to diversify their business, which I support fully.”

Hawick and Denholm councillor Clair Ramage added: “This is a farm trying to diversify, and how many times have we seen that?

“I think this is a lovely project. The fact is that they’re small, timber-clad cabins and they fit into the landscape.

“I understand there’s concerns because it’s a raised area, and I understand why they don’t want to put hedging across the front that would block the view of the valley.

“It’s about tourism, it’s about our area.

“I’m looking across the valley and I can see lots of different types of building.

“I feel the planting they’ve put forward is really sympathetic, and I would overturn the officers’ decision on this.”