A COMPANY’S pitch that extending a Borders caravan park would bolster tourism in the area has been endorsed by councillors.

An application was submitted to Scottish Borders Council last year to add 19 lodges on land west of Pease Bay Holiday Home Park at Cockburnspath, increasing the number of pitches to 349.

But council planning officers refused the application for being contrary to the council’s Local Development Plan in that the “siting and design of the proposed development would have a significant adverse landscape and visual impact on the landscape quality of the Berwicksire Coast Special Landscape Area”.

Officers also said “the benefits of the development, including economic benefits, would not outweigh this harm".

But the applicant, Verdant Leisure, argued that not enough weight had been given to the economic benefits of the expansion.

The applicant also claimed the impact on the character of the landscape would be ‘negligible’ or ‘small at worst’ and that screening of the site with planting would reduce any impact.

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At a meeting of the council’s Local Review Body on Monday (January 23), members agreed to overturn the officers' decision by a vote of five to four.

Jedburgh councillor Sandy Scott said: “I don’t think an extra 19 pitches is going to have a huge influence on this thing, there are 330 of them there anyway, plus the fact that the roads department don’t seem to have any objections.”

Tweeddale East councillor Marshall Douglas agreed, adding: “I think that if the building of the site is sustainable and not going to cause damage by erosion to the hillside then, in the scheme of things, it is a natural extension and makes the site more viable overall. We need to encourage tourism and the jobs it provides.”

Tweeddale West councillor Eric Small said: “It’s bringing tourism and we need to encourage that.”

East Berwickshire councillor Aileen Orr opposed the appeal bid, saying: “I just can’t understand why this would not have a considerable impact on the topography and indeed the visual impact fro the coast, so I totally support the officers.”

Review body members were told that the expansion would result in the creation of the equivalent of 3.5 full-time jobs.