Where to start when developing Coldstream’s business park?

A SEVEN hectare business park in Coldstream was a late addition to Scottish Borders Council’s Local Plan, to be developed over a number of years, but the council and the landowners don’t seem able to agree which part of the site to develop first.

Two years ago the council received planning consent from the Scottish Government to develop a 1.4 hectare area to the north east of the site, plus a new access road off the Coldstream to Swinton road (A 6112).

They were seeking EU funding to develop new business sites across the Borders (including the Coldstream Mains site) and getting planning permission for the development first was essential to the success of their application to the EU.

Since early 2011 the council has been negotiating with Lennel estate landowners, Trustees of the Sir Ilay Campbell Settlement, to buy the 1.4 hectare piece of land which now has planning permission to develop as a business park - but negotiations have stalled.

The estate has insisted all along that the area to the south west, near Hillview, should be developed first and offered to sell the council that piece of land, rather than the area where the council has obtained planning permission and a change of use from agricultural to employment land.

An impasse seems to have been reached between the two sides and the latest development is that in the past two weeks the estate itself has put in a planning application for construction of access road and change of use from agricultural land to form seven employment plots to the site behind Coldstream lorry park at Hillview.

In their supporting statement for the planning application, the estate’s agents, Scott Hobbs say: “Following the discussions with SBC regarding the subject site as an alternative to the council’s preferred site, SBC submitted an offer to the estate.

“The offer stated that the purpose of the acquisition of the subject site was to develop the site for employment use, and that SBC would apply for planning permission for that use.

“Contrary to the stated intention of SBC, it did not apply for planning permission for the subject site, and advised the estate that it would not be doing so.

“This has left the estate with no option but to apply for planning permission for the proposed development itself.”

The estate’s agents go on: “The first phase of development on the subject site, for which full planning permission is now granted, raises very significant concerns for the estate in terms of the impact on the setting of Belmont House to the east, and the overall impact on the setting of Coldstream and the estate as a whole.

“Whilst the estate has no objection to the principle of employment use at the allocated site, there is neither logic nor merit in phasing the development of the allocated site in the manner proposed by SBC.

“The existing industrial estate at Hillview, to the south of the allocated site, is within the established development limit of the town. It is served by a road network that has been designed to take the nature of traffic associated with employment uses.

“The allocated site essentially provides an extension to the existing Hillview industrial estate, and development at the allocated site should be phased to allow the gradual progression of development from Hillview north.”

The Local Plan envisaged the seven hectare site being served by two roads - one at Hillview on the west side of the site and an access road off the A6112 on the east side of the proposed business park.