Saddler’s appeal over plans for new home near West Linton rejected

Saddler Erlend Milne's plans for a new home and workshop to the west of West Linton have been rejected.
Saddler Erlend Milne's plans for a new home and workshop to the west of West Linton have been rejected.

A couple have had their hopes of having a countryside home built near West Linton dashed after councillors rejected their appeal against an earlier refusal of planning consent.

Saddler Erlend Milne and wife Karen, of West Linton, wanted to build a house and detached garage on a greenfield site just beyond the western boundary of the village at West Tarf.

West Linton Main Street.

West Linton Main Street.

However, Scottish Borders Council planning officers rejected that application, saying it “would amount to sporadic residential development in a countryside location unrelated to a building group”.

The Milnes appealed to the authority’s local review body, but it upheld the officers’ decision at its meeting this week.

In a report to the body, planning officer Ranald Dods wrote: “The proposed development is located on a greenfield site within the countryside.

“The critical issue is that the proposal is outwith the defined settlement of West Linton and does not respect the rural character of the area and neighbouring land uses and would not add to the sense of place.

“The proposal is contrary to council planning policies and published guidance on new housing in the countryside.

“The applicant has advanced no material reasons to set aside the terms of the development plan and it is recommended that planning permission in principle is refused.”

In response, Galashiels-based Ferguson Planning, on behalf of the Milnes, urged councillors to overturn the decision of their planning department.

Its submission said: “The development proposal is situated within the corner of a field already clearly fenced off from the rest of the field and which shares a sense of place with the building group.

“The site is located in close proximity to two other dwellings, with the other two dwellings within the building group being of greater separation but still part of the building group.

“The proposal is justified on the basis of the building group expansion justification, but it should also be noted that the proposal will include, as an ancillary use to the principal residential use, workshop space for the appellant’s rural business.

“There is no effective business space in West Linton for small workshop space.”

Although councillors expressed sympathy for the Milnes, most felt that a clear building group was not present.

Galashiels councillor Sandy Aitchison and East Berwickshire member Jim Fullarton both stated that they could not see a building group and wanted to uphold the opinion of the council’s planners.

Jedburgh councillor Scott Hamilton agreed there was no building group but felt that the need for rural business space was an overriding factor, saying: “Looking at this, it is quite isolated. I don’t think I can agree there is a building groups there.

“However, their application does mention a business need for the development, and I don’t believe a development here would impact on the environment too badly.

“There is an economic need, not as strong as I’d like, though, but I would move to overturn the officer’s recommendation.”

Kelso councillor Simon Mountford spoke out in favour of rejecting the appeal, though, saying: “I support the officers’ view on this. It’s clearly outside the building group.

“I’m quite sympathetic to the application as such as I don’t think it would have an impact on the environment, but building in greenfields is against council policy.

“In regards to the business case, it doesn’t need to be located here. The workshop could be located anywhere where the applicants build a home.”