Peebles community against housing plans which will cut down 46 trees

33 trees would be cut down on the site of the development and 13 on an access road Credit: ITV

The community in Peebles are against plans for a block of flats beside an 18th century mansion.

If the development gets the go-ahead it would mean that 46 mature trees will be chopped down - 33 on the site of the development and 13 on an access road through the woodland.

Granton Homes has planning permission in principle for 14 residential apartments in the grounds of Kingsmeadows House, and submitted its original application back in 2016 before any of the residents bought their properties on the estate. 

But campaigners for Save Kingsmeadow say that since then things have changed and that we are now facing a climate crisis and shouldn't be chopping any trees down. 

Michael Marshall who lives on the estate and fronts the campaign said: "I decided I was against it when I had an awakening, I realised it was an ecologically important woodland, it's special in that it houses bats, squirrels and shouldn't be chopped down."

Granton Homes have said they would replace the trees and plant more Credit: ITV

The community agrees, although the land is private the Land Reform Act 2003 gives everyone rights of access over land and inland water throughout Scotland, and they want to ensure the woodland stays the way it's been for 200 years.

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.

An Estate Management Plan has been developed to identify trees to be removed and new ones to be planted.

The intention is to improve the designed landscape and to implement an ongoing maintenance program to assure the long-term sustainability of the site. As part of the landscaping plan, 195 new native trees will be planted, 22 of which will be heavy set (16-18 cm girth)."

But, that proposal hasn't appeased the action group who say experts have explicitly said mature trees give more oxygen and are homes to a range of wildlife.

One of the changes to the original planning application is a wide road through the woodland itself, Granton said it was widened to suit council standards, but they are prepared to change plans again and have proposed: 

"(1) the new apartment block being accessed by the existing road serving Kingsmeadows House, (2) the relocation of the proposed access road slightly to the west of the current intended route, or (3) the reduction of the width of the proposed access road to below adoptable standard."

However, Michael Marshall says it's too little too late and the time for negotiations have passed.

Scottish Borders Council said: "An application has been received by the planning authority regarding matters specific to planning conditions for the development of residential flats in the grounds of Kingsmeadows House, Peebles.

"All relevant matters and consultation responses will be taken into consideration as part of the determination of the application."