Penicuik man battles Borders Council over dog walking facility

Stock photo by Alan Murray.
Stock photo by Alan Murray.

A Penicuik man is battling council planners after they rejected his plans to open a dog care walking facility near Peebles.

Paul Lawrie, of Friarton Garden, Penicuik, applied to Scottish Borders Council for permission to convert agricultural land near Milkiestone Toll House, to the north of Peebles, into a fenced area for exercising dogs in August 2018.

A planning statement, submitted on behalf of Mr Lawrie by Planning Solutions Edinburgh, reads: “This site was chosen as it offered a quiet rural setting only a few miles from one of the Borders largest towns.

“The site also provides the dogs with a generous amount of open space which fits in well with the business ethos.

“The site’s proximity to Peebles gives the business a great opportunity to expand and potentially increase the number of local people wanting to use the service.

“The site is also easily accessible from the wider Borders area. Therefore, the choice of site complies with policy regarding business, tourism, and leisure in the countryside.

“All dog faeces will be collected and composted in small portable wormeries strategically placed on the site.

“This will mitigate any potential contamination of land and eliminate any foul spell from the area.”

However, planning officials rejected the application in April 2019, citing concerns over the access road from the A703.

In the decision notice, John Hayward, Scottish Borders Council’s planning and development standards manager, writes: “The development is contrary to policy PMD2 of the local development plan 2016 in that intensified traffic usage of the sub-standard vehicular access creates a detrimental impact on road safety on the A703.

“The continued use of the existing sub-standard access would result in an unacceptable adverse impact on road safety, including but not limited to the site access.”

The application also attracted an objection from the occupant of Milkieston Toll House, Ray Haston, who commented: “The dogs are noisy during the day as they run around in a pack. It is impossible to stop dogs from barking with this type of set up.

“I see no reason this proposal should be granted as they clearly have little or no genuine regard to the area or for planning regulations.

Now, Mr Lawrie has appealed to Scottish Borders Council’s local review body, where councillors will deliberate on the proposals before issuing a decision.

The next local review body meeting is scheduled for Monday August 19.