Dog-walking business given marching orders at Peebles site

A controversial dog-walking site near Milkieston Toll House at Peebles.
A controversial dog-walking site near Milkieston Toll House at Peebles.

A bid by a dog-walking business to continue operating in a field near Peebles has been turned down again. 

Paul Lawrie, boss of the business, called the Fast and the Furriest, first applied to Scottish Borders Council for permission to convert agricultural land near Milkieston Toll House, north of the town, into a fenced area for exercising dogs in August 2018. 

Planning officials rejected that application in April, however, citing concerns over the safety of the access route to the site from the A703 Peebles-Edinburgh road. 

In his decision notice, John Hayward, the council’s planning and development standards manager, writes: “The development is contrary to policy in that intensified traffic usage of the sub-standard vehicular access creates a detrimental impact on road safety on the A703. 

“Continued use of the existing sub-standard access would result in an unacceptable adverse impact on road safety.”

Mr Lawrie, of Friarton Garden in Penicuik, Midlothian, subsequently appealed to the council’s local review body, but it upheld the decision to reject his application at its meeting yesterday, September 16. 

Jedburgh councillor Scott Hamilton told the committee: “I think it’s important to concentrate on the roads issue.

“The applicant goes to great lengths to show there is visibility but the photos provided by officers show there are obstacles in the way.

“I do think officers have it bang on, to be quite frank.

“It doesn’t appear to be a place that lends itself to safe, easy driving.”

East Berwickshire councillor Helen Laing agreed, saying: “We have to take very seriously the advice provided to us by roads officers and they are usually quite accommodating of applications.

“Unless there are significant changes made to this junction, then it is not safe.”

Tweeddale West councillor Eric Small added: “If the mast to the left of the junction could be moved, then I think it could be safe.

“I’m supportive of what the applicant is trying to do, but I can see the concerns of the officers.”

Councillors voted unanimously to uphold the refusal of the application.