COUNCILLORS have voted to approve the building of a new home and artist’s studio in Walkerburn.

Edinburgh couple Ewan and Isabell McCarthy submitted plans to build a one-and-a-half storey house, with accompanying detached garage and artist’s studio, in Caberston Avenue, Walkerburn, last May.

However, Scottish Borders Council planners rejected the application, saying that the site lay outside the Walkerburn development boundary, despite the site lying between two houses on Caberston Avenue.

The council’s planning department also raised concern over the junction between Caberston Avenue and the A72/Peebles Road, which will require improvement to accommodate the extra traffic.

In response, the McCarthys’ agent, Galashiels-based Ferguson Planning, lodged an appeal.

A statement to the council’s local review body, argued that the omission of the plot from the development boundary was illogical: “Physically, the site is an infill site between Bellenden House and 9 Caberston Avenue.

“Whilst it is acknowledged that the policy position places the site just outwith the development boundary, the settlement boundary is unnaturally and illogically shaped at this location.

“The boundary would more logically follow from the rear of the 9 Caberston Avenue plot to the rear of the Bellenden plot.

“The ‘indentation’ in the boundary (to exclude the subject site) is understood to relate to a now-removed constraint imposed by a previously wider heritage designation.

“There is no heritage designation contiguous with the subject site boundary.”

But officials stuck to their guns, with SBC’s planning officer Lucy Hoad recommending that councillors reject the appeal: “The proposed development would be contrary to the local development plan in that the proposed development would lie outwith the settlement boundary of the village, there is inadequate justification for development beyond the settlement boundary and the proposals would not relate sympathetically to the sense of place of the existing streetscape.

“Furthermore, the means of access to the public road is inadequate and it has not been demonstrated that it is capable of sufficient improvement, contrary to the local development plan. This would have an adverse impact on road safety.”

Despite this, councillors felt that the location was suitable for the development, and that the junction could be improved by imposing conditions on the developer.

Councillor Simon Mountford (Cons, Kelso and District) said: “I think the fact that this site has been excluded from the development plan is illogical, it is clearly a natural gap development.

“I also like the suitable nature of these plans: the way the pond is being used as a sustainable drainage system; the way grey water is being reused; the way it’s been landscaped; it’s all been sensitively done.

“Provided that the issue with the road access can be satisfactorily resolved I would be in favour of the application.”

Councillor Helen Laing (SNP, East Berwickshire) added: “I agree with my fellow councillors that this is an illogical indentation to the development boundary.”

Councillors voted unanimously to overturn the officers’ recommendation and approved the planning application.