Save Kingsmeadows

The woodland at the heart of Peebles

for everyone

When they bought Kingsmeadows estate, Granton told Peeblesshire News they needed to build a block of flats to make the project viable. They also said that no protected trees will be affected, and that the remainder of the estate will remain untouched.

Their 2019 in principle permission for the flats described the site as suitable for development because it is not occupied by any mature trees.

But now that Granton are asking for full permission to build, they are requesting permission to fell 46 mature trees.

The world has changed. We cannot go on destroying our natural world for the benefit of a select few.

Join us – and help save the last living woodland in the Peebles Conservation Area.

If you love Peebles and the Borders and the environment, object now.

Fri 20 May 2022

Planners refuse Granton / EMA Architecture's application

Watch the high resolution version (right-click to download)

Granton keep moving the goal posts

What was approved in principle and what was reported in the Peeblesshire News just doesn't match this AMSC

Peeblesshire News Nov 2014

'Community leaders have expressed fears that a successful bidder would seek to recover a lot of the costs of the deal by building houses on the estate.

But Mr Mawer told the Peeblesshire News: “We have no intention of doing that. This is a fantastic site – a beautiful amenity. The trees especially are as sacrosanct to me as anyone else.” ' [Peeblesshire News 27 Nov 2014]

Peeblesshire News July 2015

'Alan Mawer told the Peeblesshire News ... “We have no intention of spoiling this beautiful estate – we know what it means to the people of Peebles – but we need to build these extra flats to make the project viable,” he said. He stressed that the remainder of the estate will remain untouched – and is taking steps to ensure that any future buyers of the estate will not be able to build houses on the land.' [Peeblesshire News 18 July 2015]

No mature trees on site

11 Feb 2019 Granton's design statement for 19/00182/PPP said "The site for development is to the rear of the house in an area of land currently occupied by a play area and a mixture of rhododendron bushes and fir trees. This site is considered suitable for development because it is not occupied by any mature trees..." [pg 8]

Actual number proposed to be felled: 46

"Inevitably, 46no trees are to be removed to accommodate the build" [Estate Management Plan, 3.3]. Of further concern is the overlap of multiple root protection areas with the site boundary.

Design statement – road

"Existing trees will be protected and new roads designed around them with appropriate root protection measures" [2019 design statement pg 22]

Environmental impact

“... there are no trees on the site worthy of protection and at detailed application stage the impact on any natural habitats can be established” [2019 design statement pg 13]

2019 Application approved

5 Mar 2021 Planning permission in principle granted for application 19/00182/PPP "Erection of residential apartments (renewal of previous consent 15/00822/PPP)." (6 Mar 2020 20/00275/FUL adding 7 houses in the Eastern woods was withdrawn after 40 objections.)

Screening opinion request

23 Sep 2021 EMA Architecture+Design on behalf of Granton make request 21/01563/SCR as to whether an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is required. The request states: "The main effects of the proposed development on the environment will be associated with: • The physical and visual impact of the development" [pg 3].

EIA not required

8 Nov 2021 SBC's screening opinion in respect of the proposal for "Erection of 14no apartments and 5no dwellinghouses and associated access" finds that "the proposed development does not require an Environmental Impact Assessment in this instance."

Stop press

Press statements Mar/Apr 2022

'Granton homes said: "The trees on the site of the apartment block are mostly young, self-seeded and not part of the original landscape of the site." ' [ITV Border News 30 Mar 2022]

'In response, Gary Mawer, managing director of Granton Homes, said: "The statement that we propose the removal of 46 mature trees aged 150-200 years is simply incorrect. The majority of the trees are on the site of the apartment block and they are much younger, mostly self-seeded and not part of the mature woodland." ' [The Southern Reporter 8 Apr 2022]

Application 15 Mar 2022

Of the 46 trees listed for felling, Granton listed 3 as young (3121, 3123, 3124) and the remaining 43 as mature (various grades) in their tree survey [highlight added]. "A tree becomes mature when it starts producing fruits or flowers" [Woodland Trust].

Of the same 46 trees, Granton listed 40 as category A or B (6 as C or U). According to a chartered arboriculturist's objection "This is vital to understanding the overall impact of the development, bearing in mind that trees are a material consideration in the planning process and it is generally accepted that 'A' and 'B' trees are material constraints."

Unique Compelling Beautiful

A living woodland and a haven for wildlife

See more of the 100 species of wildflowers identified so far at Kingsmeadows

Some of the reasons Kingsmeadows is so special

A wildlife corridor

Kingsmeadows connects woodland to the North, East and South, including ancient woodlands at Janet’s Brae and two Scottish Borders Council-identified Key Green Spaces, Victoria and Whitestone Parks.

In Peebles Conservation Area

All the trees at Kingsmeadows – and every tree in every conservation area in Scotland – is protected by Section 172 (1) of the Planning Act.

Stronger protection for woodlands

The Woodland Trust is calling on the Government to protect veteran trees:

“Existing guidance is simply too weak to deter developers from damaging these irreplaceable habitats. Too often proposals are approved despite their impact on these precious places. Scottish Government must follow through and strengthen planning rules to improve protection for ancient woodland and veteran trees. We must preserve what we have before it’s too late.”

National Planning Framework 4

Scotland’s draft NPF4 addresses the need to reduce the number of developments damaging Scotland’s irreplaceable ancient woodlands and veteran trees.

More reasons Kingsmeadows is special

Key objections

Tell SBC planners why Kingsmeadows is important to you

The objections below are one opinion.

We've focussed on what's different this time, but we understand there are many reasons why you might want to object: traffic; access; ...

Please tell us – and, more importantly, SBC – your reasons for objecting.

1. Loss of irreplaceable trees - climate crisis

This detailed application proposes felling 46 mature, healthy trees and encroaching on the root protection areas of around a dozen more. Compensatory planting is no justification for removing 200-year-old trees from a conservation area in the middle of a climate crisis. We need to safeguard our environment for future generations.

2. Oppressive scale - negative visual impact

The mass of the proposed 4-storey modern block next to 18th-century, Grade B listed Kingsmeadows House is out of character with the surrounding conservation area. Adding an extra floor and 40% more units to the original design, means it would be even more visible from the North of the Tweed and have a permanent negative visual impact on the Peebles landscape.

3. Granton should develop on land free of mature trees

Granton's planning permission in principle said they would build on land free of mature trees, as they also said in the local press. Now that detailed permission is sought, it should match the planning permission in principle.

4. SBC have declared a climate emergency

On Friday 25 Sept 2020, SBC voted overwhelmingly to declare a climate emergency. For this declaration to mean anything, we must protect every tree in this conservation area.

5. Public benefit

Today, residents on the South side of the Tweed have easy access to a living woodland, and residents and tourists on the North side have iconic views of a Borders estate on the Tweed. Who would benefit from eating into the last living woodland in the Peebles Conservation Area?

6. Public policy

Please tell planners which Local Development Plan policies matter most to you. Environmental Protection? Mention: Tweed SAC and protected bats EP1; National Conservation and protected red squirrels EP2; Local Biodiversity EP3; Special Landscape Areas EP5; Listed Buildings EP7; Conservation Areas EP9; Gardens and Designed Landscapes EP10; Protection of Greenspace EP11; Green Networks EP12; Trees, Woodlands and Hedgerows EP13. Place Making and Design? Mention: Sustainability PMD1; Character PMD2k; Meaningful Open Space PMD2t; Habitats for amenity PMD2u ... the list goes on ...

Every voice counts. Please tell SBC in your own words what you think of this proposal (scroll down to object)

Objections from experts

28 Mar 2022

4 Apr 2022

5 Apr 2022

Cumulative impact

Granton have revealed their plans for woodland housing

Granton reserved the rights to develop the Eastern and Western woods, and/or to sell those rights to subsequent developers.

Now that Granton have revealed their plans for woodland housing, SBC must consider their cumulative impact.

By moving the access road deeper into the woodland in this phase of development, is Granton clearing a path for their next application for woodland housing?

SBC planners need to decide. Make sure you tell them what you think.

Read more about the road

Website expired on or about 12 Apr 2022, see: archived website; 20/01624/PAN; Planners' guidance

In the press 2022

Fri 25 Mar

Mon 28 Mar

Wed 30 Mar

Wed 30 Mar

Thu 31 Mar

The Southern Reporter headline "Felling fury"

Fri 1 Apr

Peeblesshire News headline "Fury at plans to fell trees at site of Peebles mansion"

Fri 1 Apr

Peeblesshire News pg 12 Rt. Hon David Mundell MP "Opinion"

Public consultation ended 8 April 2022

"Other than [1] general comment, all the representations were in the form of objections" [Officer's Report]

509 people objected

480 of whom raised material planning objections

from 464 households

"The material grounds can be summarised as follows:

Loss of trees
Impact on environment
Impact on ecology
Impact on amenity
Increased traffic
Road safety
Impact on infrastructure
Flood risk
Development not in keeping
Impact on setting of listed building
Impact on conservation area
Lack of affordable housing
Design issues
Noise and light pollution
Contrary to local plan policies
Cumulative impact of development
Lack of EIA
Scale of development"

10 statutory consultees commented

23 Mar 2022

Scottish Water no objection

"Scottish Water has no objection to this planning application; however, the applicant should be aware
that this does not confirm that the proposed development can currently be serviced."

"Once a formal connection application is submitted to Scottish Water after full planning permission has been granted,
we will review the availability of capacity at that time and advise the applicant accordingly."

28 Mar 2022

Archaeology Officer – more info required

"Recorded archaeological findspots in the area of a number of archaeological periods and materials. Potential for further archaeological finds"

"No development shall take place until the applicant has secured and implemented an approved programme of archaeological work"

"The submission of the WSI would go towards fulfilling the first part of that archaeological condition, but the implementation of the fieldwork with the associated recording, reporting and archiving of the fieldwork (such as for any revealed finds, features and/or deposits) are also required for the full purification of the condition."

4 Apr 2022

5 Apr 2022

8 Apr 2022

14 Apr 2022

27 Apr 2022

Ecology Officer cannot find any information addressing matters specified in [ecology] conditions 10-14

Ecology officer says application for matters specified in conditions (AMSC) does not address conditions 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 of 19/00182/PPP approval.

"... I can’t find anything for:

Cnd 10 – CEMP [Construction Environmental Management Plan, to protect the River Tweed SAC/SSSI];

Cnd 11 – Bat licence;

Cnd 12 – Species Protection Plans [bats, otter, badger and breeding birds];

Cnd 13 – Habitat and Landscape Management Plan;

Cnd 14 – Lighting for bats"

29 Apr 2022

9 May 2022

13 May 2022

17 May 2022

We asked planners in 2022 ...

Given the statutory consultee comments, the quality and quantity of public objections and having declared a climate emergency,
we believe SBC has a clear mandate not only to refuse this application, but to protect this woodland ecosystem from future applications.

② Make a Tree Protection Order

Friday 20 May 2022

Granton's application refused

The decision lists 4 reasons for refusing 22/00422/AMC

(Detailed reasoning is set out in the Officer's Report)

"① The design, layout and details of the proposed development would not respect the character or appearance of the conservation area, the setting of the listed building and the locally designated landscape."

"② The proposal would result in the loss of trees over and above what was accepted in the planning permission in principle. That would be to the detriment of the character and appearance of the conservation area and the locally designated landscape."

"③ The applicant has not submitted information relating to ecology and the proposal does not fulfil the requirements of conditions 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 of the planning permission in principle."

"④ An insufficient level of information has been provided to allow the proposal to be assessed fully against the matters referred to within conditions 5, 7 and 9 of the planning permission in principle."

"As a result, the proposal does not fulfil the requirements of [8 of the 14] conditions ... of the planning permission in principle"

1 "a satisfactory form of development"

6 "ensure that existing trees within the site are safeguarded and protected"

8 "the application for approval of matters specified as conditions to be based upon the location, scale and general design principles shown in the supporting plans and design statement submitted with this application" [i.e. planning permission in principle]

10 "construction environmental management plan (CEMP) ... to protect the River Tweed SAC/SSSI"

11 "copy of the relevant European Protected Species licence"

12 "species protection plan (SPP) for bats, otter, badger & breeding birds"

13 "landscape and habitat management plan (LHMP)"

14 "conservation lighting scheme for bats"

... and insufficient detail for 3 further conditions

5 "detailed design proposals for foul and surface water drainage"

9 "proposed access road ... [and] new junction"

7 "management plan for the site and the remainder of the parkland/woodland, detailing maintenance, curtilage, access and boundary treatment proposals"

"the application fails to comply with Scottish Borders Local Development Plan 2016 policies:"