Selkirk neighbours at odds over rival planning applications

The contested planning site at Lower Greenhill in Selkirk behind Ladywood on the left and Stainie Brae on the right.
The contested planning site at Lower Greenhill in Selkirk behind Ladywood on the left and Stainie Brae on the right.

Two sets of neighbours have become embroiled in a planning dispute after submitting rival applications to develop sites next to each other’s properties.

Mike Orr, of Lower Greenhill, near Selkirk, applied for planning permission in June 2017 to build two houses to the north west of his farm along with neighbour Steven Irvine, owner of part of the site and the bordering Stainie Brae holiday cottage.

However, the following month, Eric Forster and his wife, owners of Ladywood, a property to the north west of Mr Orr and Mr Irvine’s land, submitted an application to build a home next to those proposed by their neighbours.

Galashiels-based property firm Ferguson Planning has objected on behalf of the Forsters, claiming the couple had been planning to build a home on the site for some time and that Mr Orr’s proposals represent “a hastily-prepared application submitted in advance of our client’s application”.

The letter also raises concerns about the suitability of the two proposed houses on the fringe of the Lower Greenhill building group, saying: “The building group at Lower Greenhill is well contained by rising ground to the north west of Stainie Brae and to the north of Fauldsrig.

“A defensible edge exists by way of the existing eastern fencing which encloses the land beyond Fauldsrig, Ladywood and Stainie Brae.

“At least one of the proposed plots appears to lie beyond this clear boundary and the other within steep ground at Stainie Brae.

“In addition, the proposed plots appear to be positioned outwith ground contained by the enclosing land form, unlike our client’s plot, and on this basis our clients wish to object to this proposal.”

Officers at Scottish Borders Council’s planning department threw both applications out, citing concerns over the sense of place within the building group and a lack of justification for new housing in the countryside.

Both the Forsters and Mr Orr have since appealed to the council’s local review body and insisted that councillors visit their properties and see for themselves the respective sites.

The local review body, chaired by Leaderdale and Melrose councillor Tom Miers, has agreed to visit the sites and deliberate on the proposals at its next meeting, currently scheduled for Monday, November 19.