CONTROVERSIAL building work on the biggest new housing development in the Borders should be stopped until developers have addressed residents' concerns, it has been claimed.

Bathgate-based Persimmon Homes has applied to Scottish Borders Council for detailed planning permission to build 397 new homes on farmland at Easter Langlee in Galashiels.

However, neighbours have lodged a series of objections to the plans following concerns over road safety, design and lack of play areas.

And community councillors summoned them to a public meeting to discuss their concerns.

But, despite being widely advertised, the housing developers agreed only to meet members of the community council in private and walked out just minutes before the public meeting was due to begin.

Local resident David Scougall, whose home neighbours the site at Easter Langlee and was one of more than a dozen residents in attendance, told the Border Telegraph: "I think it's a disgrace. I arrived ten minutes early but they never had the decency to stay and answer any questions."

And Keith McCarter, from nearby Coopersknowe, agreed. He added: "It's just typical of their high handed attitude."

Work on the first phase of the development, which includes plans for 140 new homes, a new square and a shop, is already underway.

Persimmon sent technical director Duncan Garry and design manager Neil Parry to discuss phase two of the development at a specially convened meeting organised by Galashiels and Langlee Community Council in the town's Burgh Chambers on Wednesday night.

But, after refusing to meet the public, local residents branded it a "farce".

It is now hoped a new meeting can be setup before the planning application is presented to Scottish Borders Council's planning committee.

Community councillor Rick Kenney, who chairs the community council's planning sub-committee, said: "We did try to get Persimmon to come to the public meeting but they were unable to stay."

But he added: "We're led to believe that the time frame at the moment is for a report to go to the council in September and we are investigating whether that can be put back a month to ensure the views of local residents can be considered."