Residents concerned by plans for homes

Tenants of these garages have received letters advising them of plans to re-acquire the plots in a bid to build five homes.
Tenants of these garages have received letters advising them of plans to re-acquire the plots in a bid to build five homes.

Anxious residents believe plans for five new affordable houses in Galashiels could lead to parking difficulties and road safety issues.

Scottish Borders Housing Association wants to build five three-bedroom family homes on a site in Mossilee Road currently occupied by garage plots and two car parks.

Mossilee Road, Gala

Mossilee Road, Gala

Those plans were agreed at the association’s recent board meeting and will be submitted to Scottish Borders Council for approval this winter.

Henry Coyle, director of assets and property services at the Selkirk-based association, said, according to its register, 115 applicants are currently seeking affordable housing in Galashiels.

“During 2017-18, we advertised 13 three-bedroom homes for rent in Gala. Having received more than 250 bids for these properties, we know that affordable housing in Gala is in high demand,” he said.

Tenants of the garages have received letters advising them of plans to re-acquire the plots.

Mr Coyle added: “We appreciate that it may be inconvenient for people to make alternative storage arrangements. However we feel that the creation of affordable housing is of paramount importance.

“Parking provision will be addressed in the planning application, and we hope that by informing people affected so far ahead, we can assist them to make alternative arrangements.”

However, residents in Mossilee Road and nearby Mossilee Crescent fear the loss of the car parks would have a detrimental effect on them.

Raising the issue at Galashiels Community Council’s meeting last week, Alan Paterson said: “The loss of these car parks would have a significant impact on residents. There will be up to 30 vehicles forced into kerb-side spaces.

“There are already problems with vehicles parking at junctions. If we have a bad winter, or just with extra traffic, there’s a risk of accident.

“This scheme will have a huge effect on parking and the access to the park gardens that we currently enjoy.”

Galashiels councillor Euan Jardine said he had spoken to Mr Coyle and he had told him that was happy to meet residents on a one-to-one basis, adding: “He’s not keen on a public forum”.

However, Mossilee Road resident Andrea Hardie insisted that many people wanted to voice the same concerns.

“We tried to set up a meeting at the cricket club so everyone could join in,” she said.

“I don’t see how a one-to-one could solve the problem of so many people worried about parking. We’re all really quite anxious.”

Community councillors advised the residents to write to association chief executive Julia Mulloy requesting a consultation.

Chairwoman Judith Cleghorn told them she had invited Mr Coyle to last Wednesday’s meeting, but he was busy.

“We have got no power over this whatsoever until a planning application comes in,” she added.