CONTROVERSIAL plans to build 28 holiday chalets at Whitmuir Hall has been recommended for approval.
Scottish Borders Council’s planning officer Scott Shearer says the proposal by businessman Alan Williams is in line with the local authority’s tourism policies, with councillors to decide on Monday whether to support the official’s report.
Supporters of the project point to a review of self-catering provision in the Borders, which says there is a very modest supply in the region, adding that the Whitmuir development would be a key facility for Selkirk.
And Mr Shearer wrote: “The proposal would result in the extension of an existing tourist facility that would positively contribute to the local economy and Borders tourist industry.”
But local resident Hilary Dunlop, whose family owned Whitmuir Hall before selling it to Mr Williams in 1989, dismissed the review by a Glasgow-based consultancy firm.
“There is no information about how much it will cost or how it is going to be afforded. The economic forecast is a whitewash,” she added.
She added: “The sole reason for recommending approval seems to be that it is in line with the Borders Tourism Strategy which, because of the economic downturn, has gone out of the window.
“It is a totally inappropriate site for a development.
“The facilities do not support the numbers which the developers say will use the lodges.”
She added: “I hope the committee request a site visit as they really ought to see it before making a decision.”
A series of concerns have been raised in 50 objections made to SBC since Mr Williams revived his plans last year, and Selkirk Community Council last month reiterated its opposition due to the proximity of the development to Whitmuir Loch, a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) still owned by the Dunlop family.
But Mr Shearer wrote: “It is considered that the proposal would not have a detrimental impact on the environment or visual amenities of the area or have an adverse direct or indirect effect on the adjacent site of national heritage importance.”
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Weather for Selkirk
Sunday 26 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: South west
Temperature: 7 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 22 mph
Wind direction: South