Plans for low-carbon homes in Hawick rejected

How four low-carbon homes proposed for a plot west of Thornwood Lodge in Hawick's Weensland Road would look.
How four low-carbon homes proposed for a plot west of Thornwood Lodge in Hawick's Weensland Road would look.

A futuristic plan for new homes in Hawick designed to help tackle global warming has been rejected by planners for being out of character with neighbouring properties.

East Lothian-based Borders Low Carbon Developments had hoped to build four three-storey homes on land west of Thornwood Lodge in Weensland Road.

The Humbie firm’s plans were for low-energy, timber-framed homes in two blocks with solar panels on their roofs and electric car-charging points for residents.

However, their design failed to find favour with council planners because it was visually so different from traditional properties nearby.

Planning officer Stuart Herkes, acting under delegated powers, refused the application, describing it as “highly contrived and exaggerated”.

He said: “It is decidedly at odds with the character and type of properties within the surrounding area, in that it would be accommodated on the site in a way which would be, and appear to be, highly contrived and exaggerated.

“While the surrounding area is mostly characterised by dwelling houses of traditional designs, the house type proposed in this application would be of non-traditional design, of a very different form from any surrounding buildings, including even 20th century buildings, principally in having a flat roof, gables of exaggerated width and notably different windows-to-walls ratios.

“The applicant has been made aware of my concerns with regard to the proposed design. However, the applicant has not been agreeable to making any revisions to any aspect of the proposal.”

A spokesperson for Borders Low Carbon Developments said: “The houses are designed to address the challenge of global warming and the urgent need for sustainable low-carbon homes in the 21st century, as well as for comfort and convenience.

“The bespoke timber frame houses are designed and engineered to minimise embodied energy and increase speed of construction.

“Light powder-coated aluminium panels at the lower levels would incorporate artwork by renowned Scottish artist and educator Jonathan Gibbs, inspired by the themes of water, flora and fauna.

“The roof has 16 black solar panels, and the houses incorporate state-of-the-art technology – all-electric programmable space and water heating, electric car-charging points and 100% LED lighting to further minimise carbon emissions.”

Council planners have also refused a change of use application for a bed and breakfast near Jedburgh to be used as a family home

Meanwhile, a decision is due in the coming weeks on a bid by Eildon Housing association to build 64 affordable homes on Earlston High School’s old site