AN Earlston coach hire company has re-submitted plans to build a house on Mill Road despite similar plans previously being dismissed on flood safety grounds.

Austin Travel, of Station Road, Earlston, has submitted plans to Scottish Borders Council to build a dwelling on the site of Rhymer’s Mill, which used to form part of the J Rutherford’s garage.

The company, run by the Austin family since its inception in 1966, previously submitted similar plans to local planners but these were rejected following objections from neighbours, concerns over flooding from Leader Water, and the close proximity of industrial units.

Now, a new application is set to be heard by councillors sitting on the Scottish Borders Council’s planning and building standards committee today (Monday, November 5).

The new plans, submitted by Galashiels-based Aitken Turnbull Architects on behalf of Austin Travel, would see the building of a one-and-a-half storey home, with two bedrooms, and with wet dash rendering and a slate roof.

However, similar concerns regarding flood risk has led to the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) once again objecting to any development of the site, saying that the chances of a one in 200 years flooding event are too risky: “Given the location of the proposed development within the functional floodplain we do not consider that it meets with the requirements of Scottish planning policy and our position is unlikely to change.

“We have a shared duty with Scottish ministers and other responsible authorities under the flood risk management act to reduce overall flood risk and promote sustainable flood risk management.

“The cornerstone of sustainable flood risk management is the avoidance of flood risk in the first instance. We recommend that alternative locations be considered.

“We have reviewed the information provided in this consultation and it is noted that the application site lies entirely within the medium likelihood (0.5 per cent annual probability or one in 200 year) flood extent of the SEPA flood map, and may therefore be at medium to high risk of flooding.

“We have been involved in extensive consultations for this site over many years, hence we have based our response on our latest advice and all readily available information.”

Despite this, planning officers from the council have recommended that councillors approve the application so long as the applicant agrees to raise the ground floor height of the proposed building above the level of any potential flood event from Leader Water.