A COUPLE hoping to relocate from Cornwall by converting a barn on a Borders farm into a family home have had their hopes dashed.

Scottish Borders Council had received a planning bid from Mr and Mrs C&J Stephens seeking the change of use of an agricultural barn at Carterhouse Farm, located on the southern side of the A6088, nine miles south of Jedburgh.

The bid would enable the applicants, who currently live almost 500 miles away in Cornwall, to relocate their young family to be closer to Mrs Stephens’ parents, who are the owner-occupiers of the existing dwelling at Carterhouse.

But the application has been refused on the grounds that it would be a “sporadic residential development in the countryside” and therefore in conflict with the council’s Local Development Plan.

In his report recommending refusal,  council planning officer Scott Shearer says: “The application seeks consent to convert an existing barn to a dwelling house which is located at Carterhouse Farm, which lies to the west of Carter Bar.

“The barn is accessed off a track which leads to the existing farmhouse and is positioned next to another farm building.

“The site lies outwith any recognised settlement or building group and no overriding essential business need has been substantiated for a house in this isolated location. The proposal would lead to sporadic development in the countryside and other material considerations do not outweigh the conflict with the Local Development Plan and the harm that would result.”

In support of the application, a report from Galashiels-based Ferguson Planning, agents for the applicants, says: “The applicants intend to permanently relocate to the Borders from Cornwall, where Mr Stephens runs his own joinery business and Mrs Stephens is a registered nurse, closing the mammoth distance between grandparents and the rest of the family.

“The barn remains in active use, although at a very low level. Carterhouse Farm has substantial over-capacity in existing shed space and all materials and equipment displaced from the barn on-site would be consolidated in other existing sheds.”