A LONG-RUNNING bid to convert a derelict Borders farm building known locally as the ‘Blue House’ into a family home has been rejected.

A bid submitted to Scottish Borders Council (SBC) for the conversion and extension of a former agricultural store located near Swansfield Farm at Reston in Eyemouth into a “sustainable, off-grid dwelling house”, incorporating a 17.8m high wind turbine, was refused in August last year – despite a community rallying in support.

Dubbed the ‘Blue House’ the structure was a dwelling house in the 19th century before being converted for agricultural use, although it is now in a state of disrepair.

An appeal against that refusal came before SBC’s Local Review Body when it met on Monday, January 22.

But members decided to defer a final decision for officers to consider a bat survey that had not been previously available.

At a meeting on Monday (March 18) members voted by a majority to refuse the latest application, with one member describing it as “over-development” in the countryside.

East Berwickshire councillor Aileen Orr upheld the recommendation of council officers for refusal, saying: “My principal concern was the relationship between the extension and the actual building itself as being quite excessive and would be quite predominant in the countryside.”

Mid-Berwickshire councillor Donald Moffat agreed, saying the building would “stand out like a sore thumb”.

But Hawick & Denholm councillor Neil Richards supported the planning bid, saying: “This application has improved as far as I am concerned. What are we asking them to do? This allows housing in the countryside and for me I support this.”

Review body chair councillor Simon Mountford added: “I am very sympathetic over what the applicant is trying to do here. However, although the revised plan is a distinct improvement, the scale would mean that the building would read like a new house in the countryside with an old building attached.”