Rejection of plans for new home near Lilliesleaf sparks appeal

The disputed development site is close to Linthill Country House, near Lilliesleaf.
The disputed development site is close to Linthill Country House, near Lilliesleaf.

A Midlem couple hoping to have a new home built near Lilliesleaf have lodged an appeal after having their plans rejected.

Alexis and Rose Kennedy, of Templehall, Midlem, want to have a two-storey, four-bedroom home constructed in a field to the south of Linthill Country House.

However, a location plan and building design submitted by Dunoon-based company Architeco failed to find favour with Scottish Borders Council’s planning officers.

They rejected the proposals, describing them as “highly detrimental to the rural amenity of the site”.

The Kennedys have appealed to the authority’s local review body, though, and it will reconsider their plans on Monday, January 21.

In a report to councillors, planning officer Stuart Herkes urges them to uphold his rejection next week. He writes: “No appropriate case that would allow this proposal to be supported under any economic requirement for a house in this location has been given, and as an isolated housing proposal with no justification, it is only reasonably refused as being contrary to council policy.

“The current proposal is also reasonably refused on the basis of the fact that its particular design and layout would be highly detrimental to the rural amenity and environment of this site.

“Such an ancillary and suburban character of development, with no particular concern to reflect rural or traditional architecture, would in itself detract unacceptably from the designed landscape and surrounding countryside.

“For these reasons, the application should be refused.”

Despite concerns over new building in the countryside, the council has already granted planning permission in principle for the south-west corner of the field, just off the B6359 Hawick-Melrose road.

Archie, Helen and Hugh Shaw-Stewart, of Notting Hill in London, had an application to build a home on the land rejected after allowing a previous such planning consent to expire.

However, in November, the local review body overturned that decision by the planning department and gave the go-ahead for building on the field.

The Shaw-Stewarts’ property would neighbour the Kennedy’s proposed development, but a detailed building proposal has not yet been submitted by the Londoners.  

In its own submission to the local review body, Architeco, on behalf of the Kennedys, pointed out that planning consent in principle has previously been agreed for the land and defended its building design.

The Argyll and Bute-based firm says: “The officer would have preferred a design reflective of traditional gatehouse design. This is not a viable design option for this site as the trees bordering the site need to be avoided and so the house needs to be sited, and thus designed, differently.”

“We posit that the development is in accord with the adopted local plan as it is a modern take on rural housing, with a design complementary to that of traditional rural housing.”

The development would be close to Linthill House, an 18th century mansion.