Two villas, each containing eight apartments, are to be built on Coldingham Sands Road, replacing the existing Shieling Nursing Home.
A plea by local residents for the planning application to be turned down almost succeeded - but after 90 minutes of discussion members of Scottish Borders Council’s planning committee followed the recommendation of planning officers and approved the application by five votes to four.
East Berwickshire councillor Michael Cook spoke against the proposal to knock down The Shieling and build the new apartment blocks. “This is the wrong place for a property of this type,” said Councillor Cook.
“There is a consistency of character in the properties in the area.
“The Costa del Sol has no place being injected into part of Coldingham Bay.”
Coldingham resident Paul Warner spoke on behalf of the local action group and objectors, arguing that the development would have a “detrimental impact on the bay”, adding “this will further destroy the view of Coldingham Sands”.
Mr Warner added: “There were 250 signatories on the petition - more than the number of votes cast in the recent community council elections in St Abbs and Coldingham combined. That is the strength of feeling in the community and the community would like to be listened to.”
The applicant’s architect Charles Hussey told councillors that both he and his client had concerns about the scale of the existing building.
And his design for the two proposed buildings, complete with 14 parking spaces, won over planning officers and enough of the planning committee members to see the plans approved.
Councillor Simon Mountford said: “If we are trying to get good design into the Borders then we have to be open to good, contemporary design and architecture and not hark back to what was right for previous generations.
“I think what we have here is something that is well designed and takes account of the landform, and we should be bold enough to recognise this is what we should be supporting.”
Mid Berwickshire councillor, Donald Moffat, however, was not impressed and said: “It is certainly not in keeping with the area and to me it looks more like something from the Second World War coastline - like gun emplacements.
“The design to my mind is totally out of character with the site and it will destroy the look of the village and I don’t think it is acceptable at all.
“It is totally out of keeping and out of character and I think it is just about vandalism.”
A vote on a proposal to have a site visit before coming to a final decision was put forward by Jim Fullarton but rejected by his fellow committee members.