PROPOSALS for three holiday lodges at Bonchester Bridge are set to be considered on appeal. 

Claire MacTaggart, of Hallrule Farm, had her initial plans to build holiday lodges on her property rejected by planning officials in April this year, citing concerns over the rural nature of the land and the viability of the business. 

The development would see three units for holiday-let use on a remote greenfield sit to the west of Hallrule Farm, with a new access road being built to serve the new properties.

The planning application has so far attracted six objections from five households, with the main issues raised being traffic movement and safety, the visual impact of the development, and the impact on the environment and natural heritage.

Simon Blackwood, who lives near Bedrule, writes in his objection: “This area is one of specific natural beauty and should remain so. 

“The building designs are all inappropriate in this setting and the financial benefit to the land owner is far outweighed by the wild flowers and vegetation of the local amenity enjoyed by locals and walkers for all over the Borders and beyond. 

“Farm diversification is no reason to install holiday homes which will increase traffic substantially in an otherwise peaceful rural environment.

“The roads in the locality are almost entirely single track and already inadequately tended by the roads department. The application should be refused.”

However, Mrs Taggart has now appealed to Scottish Borders Council’s local review body, which is set to meet on Monday July 15 to deliberate on the proposals. 

An appeal statement, submitted to the local review body by Galashiels-based planning consultants Ferguson Planning, reads: “We believe that the proposed site offers a unique opportunity for high-quality five-star self-catering holiday lodge accommodation in the Scottish Borders.

“One of the major selling points of holiday getaways are the views and tranquil locations that are on offer. 

“The location was carefully chosen to offer visitors a tranquil escape, that can be appreciated and enjoyed for its serene atmosphere and surroundings. 

“Existing land form and trees effectively screen the cottages and will therefore generally not have any impact on visual amenity in the Teviot Valleys special landscape area. 

“The lodges will not be seen from any public receptor point (e.g. road) and therefore has a low landscape impact as a result. 

“Appropriate design measures have been taken into consideration for this location. External materials reflecting the existing landscape have been proposed to ensure the integration of the cottages into the valley.”

However, planning officers are still maintaining that the planning application should be removed.

A report, authored by planning officer Stuart Herkes, reads: “The proposal does not in its siting, layout and design respect the landscape and visual amenities of the site and surrounding area, and would lead to a form of development that in all of the above noted respects, would be incongruous in this isolated rural location. 

“Further, and without the need for the particular site, layout and design of the proposal having been demonstrated within the applicant’s supporting case, the proposal would be liable to promote residential development on a site with respect to which no justification has been given to substantiate any operational or economic requirement of any business requiring itself, to operate from this specific countryside location. 

“As such, it is considered that the proposal would be contrary to the local development plan, and should be refused.”