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Thursday, 27 November 2014

Councillors in bid to back flats conversion

A PLAN to rejuvenate two properties in Langholm’s High Street has been rejected by the planning authority.

Now, Langholm, Ewes and Westerkirk community councillors are supporting the conversion proposed by King Chung, who runs the fish and chip shop.

The plan for 25-27 High Street proposed to change the use of and alter the former ground-floor betting office to form a flat, incorporating part of the existing flat, extend the existing upper flat, including raising the wallhead and ridge height, put in two dormer windows at the rear and build a garage.

At the community council meeting Ronnie Tait said he was looking for some help with the application. It had been refused permission because of lifting the wallhead by one metre.

He wanted the backing of the council so he could send a letter to building control to say the refusal was “ridiculous”.

Mr Tait said: “I’m trying to help them out. They will tidy it up; it is a mess now. They will renovate inside and out and turn it into two flats. The council has refused it because of lifting up the gable end by one metre and said it’s not sympathetic with the conservation area of Langholm.

“It’s ridiculous. It is only a metre and you can’t see it from the High Street.”

He had already spoken to Annandale East and Eskdale councillor Archie Dryburgh and Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray about it.

He wanted to be able to write a letter with the community council’s backing, calling for a review and have the objection overturned. Annandale East and Eskdale councillor Craig Peacock advised them to appeal the decision taken by the planning officers.

Mr Tait also said the launch of the council’s facelift scheme for small towns, worth £400,000, had been put back until next month.

Mr Peacock said: “Because of the debacle of the facelift scheme, members are to get a report at the next planning, housing and environment committee meeting on the delay.

“We’re all complaining about it. It was put to the community council and Jason Sayers was here last June but it has gone flat.” He has not implemented the scheme and it has not got off the ground yet. There is £400,000 allocated for it and it needs to be used for the purpose intended.”

Mr Tait also gave members an update on the work the Eskdale Foundation was doing on the High Street with the £500 granted to it and the community council for the project by the Minsca community windfarm benefit. They needed another £400 to cover the cost.

He said John Mills was taking photos which would go on display for public opinion. They would have a full architect’s impression of what Langholm would look like.

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