A MIDLOTHIAN-BASED timber yard’s bid to relocate to the Borders is back on the agenda.

An application for planning permission for a timber storage and processing facility on land south west of Westloch farmhouse in Peebles was refused by Scottish Borders Council after it was decided that an economic/operational need for its location in a countryside location had not been established.

The applicant, Pentland Biomass in Loanhead, is part of Pentland Plants horticultural business and garden centre.

Bosses at Pentland Biomass are seeking relocation as its current site has been identified by Midlothian Council as the preferred location for realignment of the A701 road.

After an extensive search for alternative homes the Westloch farm site was identified as the ideal location as it is within a recently planted highly commercial conifer forest.

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But the application resulted in a number of objections amid concerns that it would impact on local residents, result in increased traffic, smells and noise nuisance.

Now the company is to appeal the refusal of planning permission to the council’s Local Review Body, it has emerged.

One of the objectors to the switch was Tweeddale West’s Liberal Democrat councillor Drummond Begg, who said: “I have been contacted by a number of local residents raising concerns at the choice of the site for this timber processing plant.

“The three major concerns are dust, noise and heavy goods traffic. All appear problematic.

“I share the concerns that this processing plant appears to be on a site which is close to a residential area impacting on a number of households. It is hard to see how noise and dust pollution can be mitigated satisfactorily.

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“It is also hard to see how lorries required for the operation will operate without impacting on cyclists and walkers in this tourist area.”

In a supporting planning statement with the application a spokesperson for Pentland Biomass said: “Pentland Biomass is an established and successful business with a significant turnover and currently employ 10 staff. The proposed relocation of the timber yard operation from Loanhead to Westloch would represent a significant investment in the local rural area and would help secure the long-term future of the existing workforce as well as provide a range of new local employment opportunities.

“It is estimated that the new facility at Westloch would employ 10 to 15 staff on both a full and part-time basis.”

The planning bid also included a house for the manager of the timber yard.