Greenlaw farmer praised for housing plans
A LOCAL farmer has been praised for "responding to the market" by providing cheaper homes in the Greenlaw area.
The application from Jonathan Constable for the conversion of seven steading buildings into houses at Meikle Harelaw Farm was approved by Scottish Borders Council's Planning and Building Standards Committee when they met on Monday.
The decision means that a four new houses will also be built on the same site, consent having being given for these some time ago.
Meikle Harelaw, approximately 3.5 miles from Greenlaw, originates from a 19th century farm steading and consists of several elements of development, including the former farmstead and farmhouse, a range of buildings to the north and a number of private dwellings in the eastern area, some modern and some traditional.
As well as the 11 new houses, five passing places are also being created along a nearby public road and measures will be undertaken to offset any impact on bat and bird habitat, which is known to exist in the buildings.
Westruther and Greenlaw Community Council objected to the proposals, siting a number of reasons.
They felt that the design of the new houses was inappropriate and inconsistent with the character of the existing buildings and the scale of the development broke the 100 per cent rule on expansion for building groups.
Berwickshire Civic Society also objected to the application on similar grounds.
The Community Council also felt the development of the site would have adverse repercussions for the amenity of existing residents due to traffic, noise and visual impact.
And despite the fact that passing places are to be created the Community Council felt that the area surrounding Meikle Harelaw had an inadequate road network and wouldn't cope with the additional traffic.
However, welcoming the application, Councillor Jim Fullarton said that existing cottage dwellers don't need to fear as the new access road will take traffic away from them.
And in response to the fact that seven, rather than the original five buildings are to be converted, the East Berwickshire councillor said: "The farmer is trying to respond to the market by providing smaller, cheaper houses.
"This isn't an attempt by him to make a small fortune and then run off as I understand the houses are going to be for rent.
"He is going to continue to live close by and continue his farming business.
"There will be slightly more traffic but the adjacent road benefits from good visibility and with the new passing places the extra houses shouldn't cause too much of a problem."
Approval was given to the application subject to a number of conditions including some relating to the design of the properties. To ensure that the character of the buildings is not undermined by the use of any inappropriate paint colour, the colour of the external timbers must be submitted to and agreed in writing by the Planning Authority.
And in the interests of road safety, no construction works shall commence within the application site until the five passing places have been constructed in accordance with details and locations that will be agreed by the Authority.
The Public Right of Way BB120, situated on the southern edge of the development site shall be maintained open and free from obstruction both during and after development.
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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