THE first step towards the restoration of the Haining estate in Selkirk has been taken with the green light being given to plans to turn the old coach house and stables into offices, workshops and studios, writes Kenny Paterson.
Six units will be created, with new parking and pedestrian access. The successful application also includes alterations to a boundary wall on the estate, which was bequeathed to Selkirkshire by its owner, Andrew Nimmo-Smith.
A statement from the Haining Charitable Trust said: “The general design intent is to conserve and convert the coach house and loose boxes as part of phase one of the Haining project into flexible office/studio/workshop-type accommodation. The proposal will show an upgrading of the roadway into the courtyard, the location of new parking spaces and minor alterations to the landscape of the courtyard itself.
“The proposal will create six commercial units. No significant external alterations will be made and it is the intention to maximise the simple elegance of the existing archways and classical detailing of the courtyard.”
Concerns were raised when the application was submitted last year by David Scott, of Haining Stables, who feared residents would be living “in the midst of an industrial setting”.
He wrote on the Scottish Borders Council website that his privacy will be affected as four of the units will face directly into his bedroom, and he believed the courtyard would be overcrowded and noisy.
The community council, while supporting the application, also had concerns which included the new parking area and alterations to the boundary wall.
But Selkirkshire councillor Vicky Davidson, executive member of Scottish Borders Council for economic development, said: “I’m assured that all the points raised by the community council were considered carefully and are reflected in conditions.”
She added: “I’m pleased that we have passed another hurdle on the road to ensuring the future of this wonderful estate.”
Another Selkirkshire councillor, Carolyn Riddell-Carre, said the news was a “major plus” and will bring business to the town.
“It is going to be a very major asset to Selkirk and it’s specially wise of the trustees to start with the conversion of buildings which will eventually bring in an income to the Haining Trust,” she said.
“Just as importantly, these work places will give employment space for people wanting to set up businesses in Selkirk and the rent from these workplaces will help to maintain and improve the house and grounds.”
The project, which could take five years to complete, includes plans for a restaurant, eco-friendly luxury treehouse, visitor accommodation, a room dedicated to the history of the Haining and an adventure playground. The trust also hopes to restore the mansion, with touring exhibitions by the National Art Gallery for Scotland mooted.
Community council planning spokesman Ian King said: “We hope the community will be given the chance to make further comments on the development.”