SCOTTISH Borders Council has given the go-ahead to a brand new housing estate in Lauder.

Members of the council’s planning and building standards body voted unanimously to approve an application from Persimmon Homes to build 38 new homes just north of Thirlestane Drive.

Seven people have objected to the development, with a further four expressing concerns, including Kimberly Shaw-Walker, of Thirlestane Drive.

She wrote: “The site is not suitable for the volume of houses proposed. Services cannot cope with the number of units proposed.

“Health services cannot cope with the increased number of residents as per the proposed application. The school cannot cope with the increased number of pupils the proposed development will bring into the community.

“The land was to be held for a community purpose and it has never been openly considered for any other use, and to the best of my knowledge that is still in place.

“How can this application even be considered if this is not yet one more strategic move by the council to set aside the community’s express wishes for financial and political gain.”

Lauderdale Community Council has also objected to the plans, citing the number and density of the development. The objection reads: The developer’s proposal has too many houses. Scottish Borders Council’s local development plan puts the site capacity at 30.

“A 27% increase on this is clearly unacceptable.

“The scheme, as proposed, looks too dense and cluttered. The alternative layout suggested by the council’s landscape architect has slightly fewer houses and a less cluttered appearance.  

“If the development were to be consented, it should have a layout based on this but with fewer units.”

Despite the objections, councillors voted to approve the application on Monday 10 December, although councillors did admit they too held some reservations.

Galashiels and District councillor Sandy Aitchison said: “I must admit this is a huge improvement on the application’s design that came before, although there are still issues with density, and the infrastructure of Lauder.

“However, it looks to me to be an infill development. I can’t see myself objecting to this in any way.”

Fellow Galashiels councillor Andy Anderson also spoke in favour of the development, and reserved particular praise for the design of the road network: “The issue does seem to be the density, but the layout is sensible; the road layout discourage boy racers, and white van drivers from parking on the road.

“On the basis of what has been put in front us me I don’t have any objection to this.”

Summarising the discussion, Kelso and District councillor Simon Mountford said: “I’m more or less in agreement with the comments of the other councillors. I would be happier if the proposal was a lower density but this is a commercial development and they have to make a return on their investment.

“Looking at it on balance, I could live with it.”