A PROPOSAL for 69 new affordable homes in Galashiels has been unanimously approved by councillors.
The plans were discussed at a virtual meeting of the planning and building standards committee on Monday (August 2).
Earlier this year, Scottish Borders Council (SBC) officers signed off on proposals to build 11 houses just off the A7 at Buckholm Corner – the first phase of an 80-house project submitted by Eildon Housing Association.
Elected council members have now approved phase two of the development which includes building the remaining 69 properties and a children’s play area on land north of Hillside Drive.
During the meeting, Galashiels councillor Andy Anderson, of the SNP, said: “I’m supportive of the proposal. The community council had no real issues with it.
“As regards to the play area, it’s important and [needs] something of good quality rather than just a little shoot and springy seat.
“It’s quite a stretch from the nearest play park and as we’re envisaging siting more houses here it would be good having somewhere safe for kids to play without having to go down the A7.”
The 69 new homes – set to be built around a mile away from the town centre – will be a mixture of terraced and semi-detached properties, and will be available for “affordable rent”.
An allocated site to the north of the proposed location has capacity for a further 180 houses, according to council papers.
On the proposal, Tweeddale West councillor Eric Small, of the Conservatives, said: “This development is great for Galashiels [and] great for the Borders.
“It’s going to encourage young families to move down to the Borders.”
Concerns were raised about the appearance of the properties.
SBC papers state: “The terraced blocks are of uniform two-storey design with dual-pitched roofs clad in dark grey concrete tiles, pitches varying between 33 and 35 degrees.
“The walls will be either buff or white smooth render with dark grey vertical feature panelling between windows and between the doors and the roof.
“Windows and doors will be dark grey uPVC with overhanging canopies above each front door.”
Chairing the meeting, Kelso councillor Simon Mountford said there was potential for the houses to be “very bland” with “no distinguishing features”.
“I appreciate this is affordable housing but in previous developments we’ve asked developers to tweak the roof-line a little bit, just to create more visual interest,” said Mr Mountford, of the Conservatives.
An informative note was approved to ask the applicant to look at measures to improve the roofscape.