PLANS for two homes in a small hamlet to the south of Blyth Bridge have been rejected by councillors. 

Christina Jeffrey, who owns a nearby farm, submitted an application to Scottish Borders Council for planning permission in principle for two plots of land in a small building group between Kirkdean and Castlecraig. 

The site sits along a country road that connects the A72 either side of Blyth Bridge, and sits opposite a small building group and borders a house known as ‘The Granary’ to the north. 

Despite attracting 19 letters of support, the application also attracted 11 objections, mostly pertaining to road safety and the integrity of the building group. 

As the council planners received more than five objections to the plans, the proposals were decided upon by councillors sitting on the planning and building standards committee, which met on Monday August 5.

At the meeting, objector Michael Bowles, who lives across the road from the two plots, urged councillors to reject the application. 

He said: “The steading is a complete group of buildings which are adjacent to the proposed site. 

“To summarise, the residents don’t feel that two new buildings will relate well to the existing building group. 

“Further housing will have a detrimental effect and will effectively create a small housing estate in this rural area.”

Appearing on behalf of Mrs Jeffrey, Edinburgh-based property consultant Derek Scott told the committee: “The two houses proposed represent a logical addition, not just to the Granary to the north but also to the houses across the road.

“It has been suggested that this proposal will be building on an undeveloped site, but the building known as The Granary was built in this field, albeit many years ago.

“There have been no injuries from accidents at the entrance to the road, and this application is unlikely to change that.”

Council planning officers also recommended councillors reject the application, and in a written submission to the committee, planning officer Ranald Dods wrote: “The proposed development of these greenfield sites for housing does not relate well to an existing building group. 

“It does not comply in principle with local development plan policies PMD2 or HD2 in that it would amount to sporadic residential development in a countryside location. 

“No overriding case for a dwellinghouse has been substantiated and the applicant has not demonstrated that it is a development which would offer significant community benefits that would outweigh the need to protect the countryside. 

“The proposed houses are contrary to policy PMD2 of the local development plan in that they would raise issues of road safety at the road’s junctions with the A72. 

“There are no other material considerations that would justify a departure from the provisions of the local development plan.”

Jedburgh councillor Scott Hamilton said: “I think the main issue here is the roads and junctions. 

“I think there are some benefits to this but I just can’t support this with the way the junctions are at the A72, so I’m with the officers on this one.”

Kelso councillor Simon Mountford told the committee: “The real factor is to do with road safety and what officers have told us demonstrated that the junctions are dangerous and therefore I couldn’t support an application that would aggravate a safety issue.”

Councillors voted to uphold the recommendation of council officers, and rejected the application.