BARBARIANS AT THE GATE
A lot of people in this community put a lot of effort into ensuring that the Borders Local Plan, shaping our development for the next 8 years or so, is appropriate for our locality. We seem to have been successful in that we are spared new development in green field sites and will now have time to absorb such monstrosities as the 'Orchard' a nice name for a big mess. Yet we seem already to be under siege: a glance at the Public Notices in each Berwickshire will demonstrate the high proportion of applications which are in the liquid tones of planningspeak 'Potential Departure from Berwickshire Local Plan'. 4 in this week's paper alone. The latest applications are some distance from the ruralopolis of Hutton and Paxton but on going and potential barbarians are already within our gates, never mind at them. A stroll down the Fishwick Motorway (but beware of heavy traffic) towards the Tweed will show houses under construction more suited to Sunningdale than rural Berwickshire. And if the other nearby site is approved goodness knows what kind of erection will be constructed dominating the nearby and attractive traditional style farm cottages. The planning regulations emphasise the importance of a 'sense of place'-new buildings fitting into their natural surroundings. Sunningdale on the Tweed
is hardly meets that criterion. And a very good example of how such development can be grossly inappropriate you need to go no further than Cardrona near Peebles. The Orchard at Paxton is an example of insensitive over development and if it was chickens rather than people being housed there the ALF might feel obliged to intervene. Its thus all the more important to keep the concrete mixers off Knowes Close.
The Guardians of the local plan are the members of the Berwickshire Area Committee.They have the authority to approve 'small' projects-up to about 10 houses, without reference to higher authority. So far they seem to have been quite tough (with the odd blatant abberation) on applications which clash with the provisions of the Local Plan. But for how long? The odd blatant abberation, and no prizes for guessing those around here, rather blunts our confidence in their ability (and willingness) at keeping the barbarians at bay. And every abberation adds to a body of precedent which becomes increasingly difficult to ignore Eyes skinned for Trojan Horses. And keep those gates locked