A PENICUIK man has lost his planning battle to open up a dog walking facility near Peebles. 

Paul Lawrie, of Friarton Garden, Penicuik, applied to Scottish Borders Council for permission to convert agricultural land near Milkiestone Toll House, to the north of Peebles, into a fenced area for exercising dogs in August 2018. 

However, planning officials rejected the application in April 2019, citing concerns over the access road from the A703. 

In the decision notice, John Hayward, Scottish Borders Council’s planning and development standards manager, writes: “The development is contrary to policy PMD2 of the local development plan 2016 in that intensified traffic usage of the sub-standard vehicular access creates a detrimental impact on road safety on the A703. 

“The continued use of the existing sub-standard access would result in an unacceptable adverse impact on road safety, including but not limited to the site access.”

Mr Lawrie subsequently appealed to Scottish Borders Council’s local review body, which met on Monday August 19 to deliberate on the proposals, but on that date councillors moved to postpone the hearing until further information on the roads access could be requested from the applicant. 

At the next meeting of the local review body, held on Monday September 16, councillors were not swayed by the new photos of the access, submitted by the applicant, and echoed the concerns of the roads officers. 

Jedburgh councillor Scott Hamilton said: “I think it’s important to concentrate on the roads issue.

“The applicant goes to great lengths to show there is visibility but the photos provided by officers show there are obstacles in the way. I do think officers have it bang on to be quite frank.

“It doesn’t appear to be a place that lends itself to safe, easy driving.”

East Berwickshire councillor Helen Laing told the committee: “We have to take very seriously the advice provided to us by roads officers and they are usually quite accommodating of applications.

“Unless there are significant changes made to this junction then it is not safe.”

Tweeddale West councillor Eric Small added: “If the mast to the left of the junction could be moved then I think it could be safe.

“I’m supportive of what the applicant is trying to do, but I can see the concerns of the officers.”

Councillors voted unanimously to side with planning officers and refuse the application.