Once again, Scottish Borders Council planners have included Netherbarns as a site for housing – despite it being removed from the local development plan in the past, after 2 previous public enquires deemed it ’unsuitable for housing’.
The site, directly across the Tweed valley from Abbotsford House, is liable to have an adverse visual impact on Sir Walter Scott’s house – which has just gone though an £11.5 million upgrade – a sum which included £1.5 million from the council.
Lord Sanderson of Bowden, the chairman of the trustees of Abbotsford House, has accused the planning department of being ‘perverse’. He said “it is well known that Abbotsford has undergone an £11.5 million capital works programme over the last two years including complete refurbishment of the house, the building if a new visitor centre, shop and restaurant and new interpretation facilities inside and outside the house. every aspect of Abbotsford, as a visitor attraction, has now been accredited with five-star status”.
Sandy Aitchison of The Borders Party has said he will call for Netherbarns to be withdrawn from the local development plan.
It seems madness to invest £1.5 million of local tax-payer’s money into helping to create a world class tourist attraction in the Borders – and then to jeopardise that investment with ill-thought out planning decisions – especially having been through recent previous public enquiries when building on this site was deemed to ‘have a an adverse impact on the views from Abbotsford’.
As tax-payers – we will no doubt have to fund yet another public enquiry – which is likely to come up with the same answer as last time.