Plans for low-carbon homes in Hawick approved on appeal

Four low-carbon homes proposed for a plot west of Thornwood Lodge in Hawick's Weensland Road.
Four low-carbon homes proposed for a plot west of Thornwood Lodge in Hawick's Weensland Road.

Plans for four low-carbon homes in Hawick have been approved on appeal. 

East Lothian-based Borders Low Carbon Developments originally submitted plans to build four semi-detached houses on the north side of Weensland Road, opposite Mansfield House, in December 2018.

However, planners at Scottish Borders Council rejected that application, citing concerns over their potential visual impact and effect on neighbouring properties. 

In response, the Humbie firm lodged an appeal, and it was upheld by the council’s local review body last week. 

A statement, submitted to the committee by Galashiels-based Ferguson Planning on behalf of the developer, reads: “Concerns relating to residential amenity are considered to be unjustified in this case as the proposal will in no way have unacceptable impacts on 8 Weensland Terrace. 

“There are no windows on the elevation facing Weensland Terrace and the proposed set-back positioning of the development will not cause unacceptable disruption to daylight reaching the rear of the adjacent property. 

Planning officers remained opposed to the scheme, though, telling councillors that the houses would not fit in with their surroundings.

Kelso councillor Simon Mountford disagreed with the officers, telling the committee: “I think this is an imaginative development.

“I welcome the low-carbon concept and the sustainability of the design.

“You can’t do things like that in a conventional design, and I think the developer is right to do that.

“I don’t see the fact it is set back from the road as a problem as you need to get cars back off the road. 

“There is no uniformity of design in that area, and I don’t think it’s an affront to the placemaking design of the neighbourhood.

“I like the idea of the grass roof surface for ecological and environmental purposes.”

In contrast, East Berwickshire councillor Jim Fullarton said: “I think we’re really going for a tick-all-the-boxes approach here when there are real concerns over flooding and ecology. 

“I think the design is flawed, and the officer has got it right in this instance.”

Councillors could not come to a unanimous decision, so the appeal went to a vote, with four voting in favour of granting planning consent and three against.

Speaking after the meeting, the firm’s boss, David Anderson, said: “The site is entirely sloping ground, but by carefully balancing the amount of cut and fill, we have created house platforms with no underbuilding and where removal of surplus soil is completely unnecessary. 

“We aim to start on site in the new year and, before the end of next year, deliver four supremely comfortable homes ready to meet the challenges of the uncertain global future.”