MEMBERS of Scottish Borders Council's planning committee have rejected a bid for a major development on the south side of Peebles.

As we reported last week, officials at the local authority recommended turning down the application in principle for 200 houses on a 21-hectare site at Kittlegairy.

And a major part of their argument was the close-to-capacity Tweed Bridge being unable to support access to any more large developments.

Developers AWG Property and Taylor Wimpey had commissioned their own independent survey of the historic bridge - and disputed the local authority's figures.

But on Monday, councillors sided with the planning department's calculations that the £23 million development would generate an additional 117 car journeys per hour at peak times over the Tweed Bridge.

And the additional journeys would take the structure precariously close to its perceived maximum of 1250 journeys per hour - causing traffic jams on both the bridge and the nearby High Street.

A spokesman for the local authority said: "Without a second river crossing in the town to take traffic away from the town centre, the additional development traffic would result in congestion and traffic flow issues in the town centre which would compromise road safety."

As well as contraventions of policy from over-reliance on a single access bridge and the creation of congestion, members of the planning committee also cited the proposed development being outwith the current settlement boundary of Peebles and that the plans were contrary to the Local Development Plan in their reasons for refusal.

The Planning Permission in Principle application had attracted objections from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency regarding flooding concerns, as well concerns from both Peebles Community Council and Peebles Civic Society.

There was also a total of 29 private objections tabled ahead of the meeting, mainly concerning traffic, building outwith the town boundary, and the town's infrastructure being unable to cope with further housing.

Representatives of AWG Property and Taylor Wimpey did present their argument for backing the bid.

They stated that the 200-house development, which was to include around 50 'affordable homes', would generated around £3 million in developers' contributions for the local authority.

And around 57 jobs would be directly created during the building phase.

But councillors weren't convinced the benefits outweighed the issues which had been raised.

AWG Property and Taylor Wimpey have yet to decide on whether they will lodge an appeal against the planning committee's decision.

A spokesperson for the applicants said: “We are clearly disappointed by the outcome and are currently evaluating our options.”