COUNCILLORS have unanimously supported an application to build two glamping pods near a Borders town despite an environmental body objecting over the risk of flooding.

Members of Scottish Borders Council’s (SBC) planning and building standards committee discussed the proposal – on land north west of Drummonds Hall, near Lauder – last Monday (May 31).

Statutory consultees Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) opposed the development due to the potential of it “placing buildings and persons at flood risk”.

However, SBC’s flood protection officer – although initially opposing the development – advised councillors that the flood risk could be mitigated.

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A report put to elected members reads: “Following the submission of the supporting information and a site visit, the council’s flood protection officer estimates that the site sits 3-3.5m above the floodplain for the Earnscleugh Water and, based on the topography of the site and the surrounding land, it would take a large-scale event to flood the location of the proposed pods.

“The flood protection officer advises that the flood risk could be mitigated through maintenance of the watercourse and bridge. 

“A condition is requested that requires a maintenance programme to be submitted, agreed and put in place for clearing the flood arch at the bridge and for tree clearances of fallen or leaning trees upstream and downstream of the bridge.”

According to the council report, the proposed site is within the flood plain of the Earnscleugh and Leader Water and “may be at risk from a flood event with a return period of 1 in 200 years”.

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Having objected to the proposal, SEPA asked for more information on the site and whether the pods could be relocated to higher ground before reconsidering its stance.

However, due to a cyber attack on SEPA’s IT infrastructure in December no response could be issued, meaning the original objection remained.

The proposal is for both pods to have a bedroom, shower room, kitchen/dining area, living room and an external covered veranda.

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During the meeting, Mid Berwickshire councillor Donald Moffat, of the SNP, described the plans as “first class”, adding: “I think it will be good for people coming in to stay in the Borders. I have no doubt at all that this will be a great success.”

Jedburgh councillor Scott Hamilton, of the Conservatives, said he was “more than content with our flood officer’s recommendation”.

East Berwickshire councillor Helen Laing, of the SNP, added: “We need more of these types of accommodation, especially with the surge of staycations.”

Due to SEPA’s opposition, the application will go to the Scottish Ministers before it can be approved.