Take-off for futuristic house

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LAST month, a proposed modernist house in Gattonside was the subject of pejorative methaphors from sceptical members of Scottish Borders Council’s planning committee.

“Something from a Star Trek film”, “a pigeon loft on top of a health centre”, and “a conservatory with a shed on top” were the assessments of Councillors Donald Moffat, Jim Brown and Trevor Jones respectively.

The committee had been asked by its officials to approve the planning bid of Olivia McLean of Melrose to demolish a single-storey white-rendered cottage at Orchard Neuk, high on the north terrace of the conservation village, and replace it with a contemporary family home designed by acclaimed Portobello architect Matthew Johnson.

His vision involved a striking single-storey section, with large windows framed by white aluminium, with a two-storey-gabled section on top, roofed in grey slate.

The plans provoked no dissent from either Melrose Community Council or Gattonside Village Committee, but, on the motion of Councillor Moffat, the committee voted to defer a decision, pending a site visit.

That was on April 25 and 10 of the committee’s 13 members attended.

After considering further computer-generated visualisations of the project – and photographs of other examples of contemporary architecture in the village, including Peter Womersley’s The Rig (1956), councillors unanimously agreed on Monday to give Mrs McLean and her plans their blessing.

Mrs McLean said: “We’re delighted with the committee’s decision to grant planning permission. The committee’s site visit in the village seems to have been very successful in helping to put our proposed design into a bit more context.

“We have also been very touched by the supportive comments from the local community. Gattonside is a beautiful village and we’re looking forward to becoming part of the community in the future.

“Hopefully, the next stage of the process will allow us to start building our dream home in the autumn.”