£23m bid to build 200 houses near Peebles looks set to be rejected

Plans to build 200 homes on the outskirts of Peebles look set to be rejected.

Tuesday, 28th January 2020, 2:29 pm
Land to the east of Kittlegairy Avenue in Peebles being eyed up to host 200 new homes by Taylor Wimpey and AWG Property.

A £23m residential development being lined up for four fields east of the town’s Kittlegairy Avenue by Buckinghamshire-based building firm Taylor Wimpey and Edinburgh developer AWG Property is to go before Scottish Borders Council’s planning and building standards committee on Monday, February 3.

That new estate, first proposed in principle in April 2017, is being recommended for refusal, however, on the grounds that it breaches various policies in the authority’s 2016 local development plan.

In a report to councillors, principal planning officer Craig Miller advises giving the plans the thumbs-down because the 21-hectare site is earmarked for mixed use rather than solely for housing and would constitute urban sprawl as it is beyond the defined settlement boundary for Peebles.

Land to the east of Kittlegairy Avenue in Peebles being eyed up to host 200 new homes by Taylor Wimpey and AWG Property.

Adding 200 households offering two to four bedrooms to the town’s 8,400 population would also put too much strain on Peebles’ road network, according to the report.

“The Tweed Bridge and the mini-roundabout leading to the bridge from High Street do not have the capacity to safely accommodate the anticipated traffic generated by the development in addition to traffic envisaged from committed development,” writes Mr Miller.

“This would lead to unacceptable levels of vehicular traffic, resulting in increased congestion and road safety risks.”

The joint applicants dispute the traffic flow figures cited by the council, though, and argue that the benefits of the development, to include 50 affordable homes, should outweigh any breaches of planning policies.

Andrew Roberts, senior strategic land and planning manager for Taylor Wimpey, said: “Development of this £23m scheme, addressing a housing shortage within this area of the Borders, will bring considerable economic benefits to Peebles. “It will also assist in the much-needed expansion of Peebles High School, as well as contributing towards the delivery of a second crossing over the Tweed.

“We are pleased to note that from independent transport analysis undertaken recently, development can be accommodated by the current bridge.

“Development also provides opportunities for employment uses on the site, and we are conscious that there is a major demand for community space, especially on the south side of the Tweed, where facilities are currently lacking.

“We look forward to presenting to councillors on the committee and urge them to take note of the considerable merits of our development to the local community.”

Land to be set aside for employment or community use as part of the proposed estate would have the potential to create more than 60 jobs, according to the developers.

Those jobs would be on top of almost 60 per year required to build the planned homes and a further 80-plus they estimate would be supported by the project during its construction phase.

Those arguments have failed to sway more than 30 objectors, however, including the town’s community council and civic society and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.