A PROPERTY developer hoping to build an eco tourism park in Craik Forest has failed to impress local residents.
That was the message following a public meeting in the town hall on Monday night, where the latest plans to create 52 modern chalet style units and nine houses were unveiled.
But despite estimating that the project could create 40 jobs and attract £1.5million a year in tourism, Stow property developer Iver Salvesen has been accused of providing “false hope”.
After the meeting - the second of its kind due to original planning permission lapsing last year - a spokesperson for the Craik community told the Hawick News: “Information in a leaflet promoting the scheme was considered by a majority to be a pipe dream giving false hope. Mr Salvesen has had nine years to make his project work and has failed. We are not against development within the village, but it is time to say ‘no more development on this scale’.”
Other contentious issues include the increase of traffic on a single-track road from Roberton, plans for a sewage disposal facility in the centre of the village, and water supply affecting limited reserves.
But the developer has stressed that the site was granted unanimous planning support for 52 mobile and static caravans in the 1990s to a previous owner, and a similar development of log homes was unanimously supported by officials in 2006. Mr Salvesen explained: “The nearest comparative forest park is Keilder Forest and has one park of 83 mobile and touring caravans as well as seven lodges. We are only planning 52 units including the restaurant and manager’s house, and feel this is a modest development given the scale of the site.”
Highlighting that the project would create 30,000 days of work, he commented: “We desperately need to keep small rural Borders communities alive and invigorated with new work, in new trades, reinvesting in our community for the long term. What a great chance we have here to create part of this future ecologically.” And answering concerns that wildlife would be driven away, he added: “We take sustainability and renewable development very seriously.”