A BUS company has won approval for its vehicles to park up on a former car sales forecourt – despite claims it is a noisy neighbour.

Barry Austin, of Austin Coach Travel, submitted a retrospective planning application to Scottish Borders Council for the change of use of a former car sales area on land south of Aiden Vale at Rhymers Avenue in Earlston into a bus garage/parking area.

But two letters of objection were received from neighbours opposing the bid, largely on the grounds of noise disturbance.

One objector, Brian Whitelaw, of Melrose Road, whose property shares a border with the land, said: “There is considerable disturbance from this operator. We have buses coming back to the yard at midnight with security lights lighting up the yard.

“This is not an appropriate business to be in this residential area and only someone not living here could consider a different view.”

Austin Travel employs eight staff and has been operating in Earlston for 55 years, predominantly providing school bus services and, to a lesser extent, buses for tourists.

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In his statement with the application, Mr Austin said: “We relocated to our current premises in 2015 from a constricted town centre location which was proving unsuitable for operating a bus company from and obtained approval for a bus garage use for the main building we currently occupy.

“The application did not, however, cover the adjacent yard which had previously had a commercial use similar to the proposed use, as a car sales yard/forecourt.

“It was brought to our attention that the proposed use, parking buses as opposed to cars, also required planning approval. So we are submitting this application to cover this.”

Mr Austin encouraged the council to approve the application to “secure the future viability of the business”.

In her report approving the bid, Julie Hayward, the council’s lead planning officer, agreed the application on the proviso that a plan is drawn up to minimise noise disturbance from the parking area.

She said: “The representatives received have raised issues of noise from buses starting up early in the morning and coming back late at night, fumes and security lighting.

“Environmental Health has concerns relating to noise disturbance, particularly associated with early morning and late evening vehicle movements, however they feel this could be controlled and amenity protected by a Noise Nuisance Plan.”