AN MSP has added her voice to campaigners fighting an Edinburgh developer which wants to build further flats at Kingsmeadows in Peebles.

On Monday, Christine Grahame sent a letter to Scottish Borders Council’s (SBC) chief planning officer Ian Aikman and a copy to the ‘Save Kingsmeadows’ campaign.

Developer Granton Homes’ original planning permission in principle (PPP) from SBC for further flats expired at midnight on Monday, March 4.

Ms Grahame, MSP for Midlothain South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, said: “I have received representations from a number of constituents concerned about planning proposals for the erection of flats within the grounds of Kingsmeadows House, Peebles.

“I note that the original planning permission in principle granted in 2015 (which has since expired) permitted the felling of 38 trees.

“It is my understanding that the developer applied for an approval of matters (AMC) in 2022 which is thought to have involved the felling of 46 trees.

“Almost a decade has passed since the initial PPP was granted and we now have a much greater understanding of how important trees are to the environment.

“Indeed, during this time SBC has declared a climate emergency.

“Not only does it therefore seem inappropriate that an increase in the number of trees to be felled is being considered, I would respectfully suggest there should be a decrease.

“Is the felling of trees necessary at all?

“Please note that this is an objection in principle to the felling of any trees, certainly a reduction and not an increase on that previously permitted.”

Granton Homes has put in a further three live SBC planning applications – two on January 5, with 81 and 95 public objections respectively, and the latest on March 4.

At Peebles Community Council (PCC) last Thursday (March 14), Dr Catriona McKay, of the campaign group, made an impassioned plea.

Dr McKay said: “Planning legislation has materially changed, National Planning Framework Four (NPF4) is quite clear that planners need to give significant weight to the climate and nature crises when considering any development proposals (Policy 1).

“There are now three live applications and Granton is claiming that planners should only consider these narrow technicalities and, any public comments relating to the principle of development, ie that felling 50 trees is not OK, are not relevant or material.

“That is simply not the case. We have done our homework and asked experts and the answer is, ‘Once a permission has expired, planners can consider the overall effect of granting a new permission and should be making decisions based on current planning legislation’, in this case, NPF4.”

Dr McKay asked PCC to object to the applications and members agreed. Vice chairman Graham Mackie said a letter would be sent to SBC.

The agent for Granton Homes declined to comment when contacted by this newspaper.

SBC said the design, layout and details of the proposed development “would not respect the character or appearance” of the site when the planning application was rejected in May 2022.

That year Gary Mawer, managing director of Granton Homes, said the firm was “committed to the sensitive development of the Kingsmeadows estate”.