PLANS to build 22 houses in Peebles have been unanimously rejected by Borders councillors.

The proposed development off Edinburgh Road was discussed at a meeting of the council’s planning and building standards committee on Monday, March 1.

Before the meeting, the application – submitted by S Carmichael Properties Ltd – had received 134 formal objections on the council’s planning page.

Despite councillors rejecting the proposal, the Scottish Government Planning and Environmental Appeals Divisions (DPEA) will have the final say after the applicant appealed against the non-determination of the application.

The site on the north-eastern edge of Peebles is described by council officers as “5.8 hectares of rough open grassland”, with the proposed houses to be positioned at the rear of the Edinburgh Road properties.

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The development would also see the current access point to the Edinburgh Road properties “reconfigured” to accommodate a new primary access point, resulting in the felling of “up to 20 trees”.

This access issue was cited as one of the reasons for the rejection of the proposal, with one council officer telling the meeting that the road system could get “very, very messy”.

“It would be hard to see what junction you are turning into or indicating for,” the officer added.

Tweeddale West councillor Eric Small said it would be an “impossibility to get out of that junction at peak times” if the new access point was created.

Officers said that the site has seen a “history of applications” submitted to develop on it, the latest in 2017.

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Regarding another application to build on the site, Helen Laing, councillor for East Berwickshire, said: “I’m astonished that this has been put back in front of us.”

Council officers say the development would see 22 “identical” detached houses built, with three storeys at the front and two at the rear, all with “timber and stone faces”.

Mr Small said that the proposed houses “look out of character” for the area, adding that they would ‘dominate’ the existing properties due to their close proximity.

Hawick councillor Neil Richards echoed Mr Small’s concerns, stating: “The design is not in the context of Edinburgh Road.”

Chairing the meeting, Kelso councillor Simon Mountford said he was “struggling to find any redeeming values” for the proposed development.

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One of the objection comments submitted to SBC in July last year states: “This development should not be allowed as Peebles currently does not have the infrastructure to cope with another major housing development. 

“Schools and doctors surgeries are already under pressure and increasing the Peebles population will only cause more problems.”

A different objector says: “The properties are identical and too close together, resulting in a look which will do nothing to add to the impression of Peebles as you arrive or leave.”

SBC’s comments will be passed onto the DPEA ahead of its decision. The council initially had the authority to block the development but lost it following an appeal against the non-determination of the application.

According to the Scottish Government, an applicant can appeal where a local authority “has not issued a decision within the set timescale”.