Plans to replace St Boswells garages with new house given thumbs-up

Proposals for a new house in St Boswells have been given the go-ahead despite objections from neighbours. 
Garages at Greenside Park in St Boswells being proposed for demolition to make way for a new house.Garages at Greenside Park in St Boswells being proposed for demolition to make way for a new house.
Garages at Greenside Park in St Boswells being proposed for demolition to make way for a new house.

Applicant Linda Sinclair, of the village’s Greenside Park, wants to have three garages knocked down to make way for a single-storey, two-bedroom cottage. 

Her proposals have sparked objections, however, with concerns being voiced about a perceived lack of parking and the design of the house lined up for the site of the old police station in Greenside Park.

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Appearing before a meeting of Scottish Borders Council’s planning and building standards committee held via video-link on Monday September 7, objector Dennis Rodwell, told councillors: “The site is prominently sited in the St Boswells conservation area.

“When the former St Boswells police station complex, which now comprises the clinic, four garages, police houses one and two and the access and parking area, was constructed in 1976, its layout and construction form deliberately mirrored that of my own house at Greenside Park. That house dates from the 18th and 19th centuries.

“Neither the initially-submitted application nor the subsequent one respects that design rationale.

“The present application allows for two parking spaces on the precise area of off-street land that has been used by Peter and Lynn Higgins ever since they took up residence. 

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“Additionally, there would be consequences for the access to the single garage owned by Chris and Jackie Duckworth. This provides ample opportunity for neighbourly legal disputes.

“Greenside Park is already challenged for parking, including for drop-offs and pickups for the primary school. 

“This application represents overdevelopment of this particular site.”

Appearing on behalf of the applicant, Neil Mochrie, of Galashiels-based Camerons Strachan Yuill Architects, said: “Access to the adjacent residences within the old police house will be maintained and parking held within the curtilage of the application site. 

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“This is an opportunity to provide new housing within the village and to improve the immediate environment of this stretch of Greenside Park by placing a house which adds definition to that edge of the pavement and observation of the design of the street.”

Although officers recommended approval of the application, councillors shared the concerns raised by objectors. 

Jedburgh councillor Scott Hamilton said: “This is a unique site. There is a history there of the police building that reflects the building opposite, and whether this new development does or doesn’t add to that, when you look at the design pictures, it does, for me, disrupt the symmetry, which is quite a concern with this being a conservation area. 

“The garages don’t add much to the conservation area, but I think if we miss the symmetry, we miss what the conservation area is about.”

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Galashiels councillor Andy Anderson added: “I’ve taken on board my colleague’s views there, but there is an argument that perhaps it improves the symmetry as you now have a reflection of the two adjacent chimneys, and removing garages in favour of a house could arguably be an improvement there. 

“I’m not entirely convinced, but I’m certainly not against this.

“Access is possibly an issue, although there appears to be on-street parking, but I do have sympathy for the neighbours who may lose some parking.”

Despite those concerns, councillors voted unanimously to approve the application.