Greenlaw application labelled ridiculous

A BID to build a linked housing and business development on the outskirts of Greenlaw have been labelled ridiculous.

Scottish Borders Council’s planning committee refused the application by Patrick Carrick for nine new homes and six business spaces, as recommended by officers from the local authority.

Officials said that the scheme on land west and south east of Edinburgh Road was outwith the local plan of the village, and that it would prejudice the character of the community.

Mr Carrick argued that the housing was needed to offset part of the cost of the business units, which he said were in demand.

But Kelso councillor Simon Mountford said: “There doesn’t seem to be any logical case for these two developments.

“I am particularly unhappy with the business development which seems isolated like an orphan stuck out there (alongside Edinburgh Road).

“They say there is a demand which has not been substantiated.

“I just think it is a nonsense.”

Jedburgh member Jim Brown echoed Councillor Mountford’s thoughts.

He added: “I think it is ridiculous to be trying to build a group of buildings outwith the local plan.

“There does not seem to be any planning behind it. We should be encouraging people to go through the local plan and this has not.”

Mr Carrick, owner of Kelso-based Langlee Development Services, said by building the homes at Wester Row it would allow the business units to be made available at affordable rates for local firms.

Without the homes, Mr Carrick estimated that he would suffer a loss of £280,000 due to the cost of building the units exceeding the open market value.

The businessman told planners: “It is considered that this (application) is particularly important in the current economic climate where the council should be doing everything it can to support new economic development related investment, such as this, in a rural community like Greenlaw.”

However, SBC’s development standards manager John Hayward said its economic development section had reported no interest in business space in the area the last 18 months, and that there were surplus units in Berwickshire.

Mr Hayward added: “The applicant claims the housing development is necessary for the business units. But if there is no justification for the business units at this time then there can be no case for the housing.”