Hawick: Cavers Castle restoration uncertain after bid withdrawn

A PROPOSED restoration of the remains of a medieval Borders castle hangs in the balance after a planning bid was withdrawn.

Cavers Castle near Hawick, once the seat of Clan Douglas, the oldest and best known of the Borders clans, was a 64-room castle at the centre of 100,000 acres of land.

The majority of the land has been sold off over the years by the Palmer-Douglas family and now the building is a ruin set in just 10 acres of grounds.

All that remains of the original castle are the bricks and mortar of its south-easterly wing, known as Cavers House.

A planning application had been submitted by Julie Sharrer, c/o Simon Forder, of Lower Castleton in Glenlivet, for the erection of a temporary welfare building and associated access road on the site, in anticipation of a full application, in the near future, for the restoration of Cavers House.

The application generated a number of objections and now the bid has been formally withdrawn.

One of those objecting to the scheme, Jackie Hale, of Townhead Cottages at Cavers, said: “The title of this application includes the words ‘erection of holiday lodges’, indicating the underlying intent of this application regarding development of Cavers House as a commercial enterprise.

“This applicant has openly stated on public media the future use of Cavers House for lodges, weddings and a museum. This would be seriously detrimental to the area.

“We are very concerned about the future of our community should piecemeal planning applications for Cavers House be granted. Whilst we may support sympathetic domestic restoration and landscaping, we do not currently have confidence the applicant understands the sensitive historical significance of this very special place for its value to trees and wildlife such as badgers, newts and bats which are resident within the Cavers House site.”

Another objection comment came from horse rider Louise Whyte, of Kinninghall Farmhouse in Hawick, who said: “If this site is developed as a commercial enterprise, rather than as a family home, then the increased traffic it will generate on a single track with very limited passing places will render this riding route difficult to use.”

A supporting statement from Galashiels-based Camerons Strachan Yuill Architects, on behalf of the applicant, says: “The current planning application proposes to erect a temporary welfare building onto the grounds of Cavers Castle, and to re-instate a domestic use over parts of the said grounds.

“As indicated on the proposed drawings, a full application for the restoration of Cavers Castle will follow.

“The applicant and the design team are dedicated to working out the best possible proposal which will secure Cavers Castle’s historic remains for future generations by providing a long-term sustainable use. The team is currently working on a careful, sensitive approach, which takes into account all the various stages in the rich history of the now ruinous castle.

“The proposed temporary welfare unit and parking spaces at Cavers Castle will primarily be used by design team members, consultants, workers and staff who will access the site by smaller vehicles given the nature of the work which focusses on establishing a comprehensive, informed and respectful restoration proposal for the building.”

Border Telegraph | News