Ayton houses, empty for a decade, to be sold

Jim Fullarton
Jim Fullarton
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Five houses built in the grounds of an Ayton care home that have stood empty for a decade can now be sold off for affordable housing.

Built in the grounds of Peelwalls the houses had originally been built as part of a 36 home, care village linked to Borders Nursing Home and restricted for the over 55s, the infirm or those in need of care. However, with only five of the houses built the care home closed, the company ran into financial difficulties and was dissolved and the houses could not be sold off because planning consent included a legal condition linking them to the care home.

Peelwalls has since been sold and is intended to be a private family house, and the owner is looking to break the legal ties between Peelwalls and the five empty houses.

Councillors at Monday’s planning committee were told that an application, submitted in mid February, to modify the planning obligations attached to the five houses needed an urgent decision as the applicant was seeking affordable housing funding from the Scottish Government and the closing date is March 31.

Planning officer John Hayward said officers were in discussion with the applicant about appropriate development on the rest of the site which would not normally be regarded as suitable for housing, but he said there were “exceptional circumstances” in this case, and a “pragmatic approach” was needed.

East Berwickshire councillor Jim Fullarton said he was concerned that modifying the legal obligation for the homes could create a precedent on the site, leading to a larger housing development there. However, despite his concerns the planning committee approved the application to modify the planning conditions by five votes to three.