Hearing lined up to decide fate of plans for two Heriot homes

A developer planning to build two new homes in Heriot is hoping to get third time lucky now councillors have agreed to a hearing to allow him to state his case.
Land near Heriot House, where a new home is proposed.Land near Heriot House, where a new home is proposed.
Land near Heriot House, where a new home is proposed.

Craig Dougall, boss of Hill Norton Homes at Dalkeith in Midlothian, wants to build two one-and-a-half storey homes on land next to 7 Heriot House, but his proposals, so far, have failed to please planners as they say they contravene several of their policies.

Scottish Borders Council’s planning officers rejected the development last August, claiming it would have an adverse and unsympathetic effect on the landscape, as well as impacting on the sense of place of existing homes there.

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They also said there were issues around safe access to the 0.25 hectare site, currently rough grazing land next to the A7 Edinburgh-Carlisle road.

The proposed development was initially made up of three homes, but Edinburgh-based agent Suzanne McIntosh Planning resubmitted the plans to the local authority with one fewer in a bit to allay concerns over the site layout.

She said: “The application has indicated a layout of two cottages in order to achieve an acceptable footprint and building form that relates well to the setting and courtyard-type formations of the existing building group and would maintain this strong character element.

“The provision of two additional cottages will also meet a need in terms of accommodation in the village and enhance the range and choice of accommodation available.”

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That compromise failed to appease the council’s local review body on Monday, though, and they agreed that conflicting ideas over where the verge lies meant they couldn’t make an informed decision on whether to overturn the previous refusal.

Kelso councillor Simon Mountford said: “It seems to me that this issue about where the verge is is a fundamental one.

“Anything we saw in this debate is really just philosophical until we get that agreed.”

The committee agreed to carry out a site visit before organising a hearing session with the applicant and making a decision after that.

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Jedburgh councillor Scott Hamilton added: “Obviously there are complexities with the site.

“A few points have been clarified with the extra information provided by the applicant, but a hearing would see it done and dealt with, and a site visit would also help rule out other issues arising.”