Threat to Scott’s country

Many of your readers may not be aware that the early stages of our next local plan are well under way and that the consultation on the main issues report closes on June 25.

We at Save Scott’s Countryside have been surprised to see proposals for developments on two sites that have previously been much debated and finally rejected at public inquiries.

The first of these is Netherbarns, on the opposite bank of the Tweed to Abbotsford House, with a proposal that it should accommodate 45 houses. We see the previous arguments against the idea as having lost no strength and it really beggars belief that Scottish Borders Council should resurrect it.

We have always believed that a housing estate there would be inappropriate in character and scale, but that a small, landscaped build of several houses with associated activities, such as orchards or stables, would provide a softening of the town’s edge around Kingsknowes.

The second is a proposal for a site near Darnick on part of the land where the council previously wanted to build a new town to the west of the Borders General Hospital.

This proposal for mixed use – employment land and expansion of hospital facilities – would mean that unsightly development would straddle the lane that is a major approach to Scott’s managed landscape associated with Abbotsford.

We say there should be no further development around that approach. Indeed the council has put forward plenty of other, less contentious options for employment land.

Given the strength of the previous and high-level objections, along with the huge amount of time and money expended, we find it shocking that our council’s planning officers should again be considering such assaults on the heritage landscape associated with Sir Walter Scott; and the setting of our iconic but tiny Eildon and Leaderfoot National Scenic Area.

We look to our newly elected councillors to start to put an end to repeated waste of public time and money – money which we pay through our Council Tax – by emphatically rejecting these proposals.

We urge your readers to register their objections too. This can be done by email to the council’s local development plan consultation address, which is or by letter to the council’s forward planning team at Council Headquarters, Newtown St Boswells, Scottish Borders, TD6 0SA.

The whole report, including its other proposals and issues, can be found at

Charles Humphries


Save Scott’s Countryside.