Decision due within weeks on housing bid for old school site at Earlston

Scottish Borders Council convener David Parker, ex-councillor Frances Renton and Nile Istephan, chief executive of Eildon Housing Association, at the former Earlston High School site.
Scottish Borders Council convener David Parker, ex-councillor Frances Renton and Nile Istephan, chief executive of Eildon Housing Association, at the former Earlston High School site.

A decision is expected next month on plans to build 64 affordable homes on Earlston High School’s old site.

Scottish Borders Council’s planning and building standards committee is due to consider that application, submitted by Eildon Housing association in January, at its June meeting.

If approved, the Selkirk-based social housing landlord is expecting the £9.5m development to be hot property as the first phase of a similar estate at Newtown’s Sergeants Park saw more than 3,300 bids put in for 53 homes.

In Earlston, 12 two-bedroom flats and 52 houses offering two, three or four bedrooms are proposed.

Association chief executive Nile Istephan said: “At Earlston, we are bringing our experience of working in the Borders to bear for everyone’s benefit.

“By developing the former Earlston High School site, we will provide both a significant number of affordable homes for people and families in the area and deliver a number of important benefits for the wider town.

“We have actively worked to develop our proposal to meet local needs.

“We met with Earlston Community Council in November last year and held a drop-in event at Earlston Church Hall, giving members of the local community the chance to review and comment on the plans for the site.

“I would like to thank everyone from Earlston who has provided feedback on our proposals. We have listened and developed our plans to take account of these views.

“Wider benefits for the whole town from the proposal are already being seen, with work to upgrade local water and sewage systems, previously deemed necessary but only scheduled to be undertaken in around 2025, now under way and on course to be completed next year.

“Our proposal includes supporting the creation of a river walk along the Trafford Burn.

“We have designed a safe and sustainable development, one which encourages children to walk to and from school and which includes seating, footpaths and meeting points. All of these will integrate the new homes into the life of the town.”

If granted planning permission, building work on the 64 new affordable homes would be expected to be completed late next year.