Penicuik man’s dog walking facility plans set for decision

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A planning battle over a proposed open dog walking facility near Peebles is set to be decided on Monday, with council officers recommending refusal.

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.

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.

Mr Lawrie subsequently appealed to Scottish Borders Council’s local review body, which met on Monday August 19 to deliberate on the proposals, and supplied more detailed information regarding the road usage and access.

However, councillors decided to delay the appeal for another month, in order to give roads officers time to inspect the new information and make a recommendation to the committee.

Now, ahead of the latest meeting of the local review body, scheduled for Monday September 16, planning officers have reiterated their opposition to the dog walking facility.

The council’s road department are of the opinion that the new information supplied by the applicant does not change the opinion of the department, and that the road access remains unsuitable.

In his report to councillors, planning officer Ranald Dods urges the committee to reject the proposals: “The proposed use is not one which can easily be located within an urban setting and a rural location is appropriate.

“The land will be used for the intended purpose for only a limited number of hours per day in the working week and for the majority of the week, the land will appear as any other field in a rural setting. No buildings for the site.

“Whilst the use is broadly acceptable in terms of policy ED7, the issue of road safety at the access has not been overcome to the satisfaction of Roads and a recommendation of refusal has been made in terms of policy PMD2.”