Approval has been granted for an 18m-high telecommunications tower on land close to Barrie Knitwear on Hawick’s Burnfoot Industrial Estate.
That application, submitted by Livingston-based Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Limited (CTIL), has been given the thumbs-up by Scottish Borders Council
In her report to councillors, Julie Hayward, the council’s lead planning officer, says: “Twelve alternative sites were considered and discounted within the Burnfoot area of Hawick as the sites would not provide good coverage due to low-lying land.
“The adjoining site to the Abundant Life Church was discontinued due to concerns from our department and councillors over the proximity to the church.
“The proposed mast would not result in an unacceptable cumulative impact as there are no similar installations in the surrounding area.
“The site is within the industrial estate and the knitwear factory has a tall industrial chimney, and it is felt that the proposal would not be out of character with the surrounding area.
“Although the mast would be visible above the buildings and the trees, it would not significantly harm the visual amenities of the area.
“The closest residential properties are in Fairhurst Drive to the north west, and these are approximately 60 metres from the site and screened by trees and the Scott and Charters knitwear factory.
“It is considered the proposal would not affect the light, privacy or outlook of the occupiers of these properties.”
Concerns had been raised that approval for the scheme could endanger any future expansion of the Borders Railway to Hawick.
That fear is addressed by Ms Hayward, saying: “The proposed equipment compound is within an area of amenity grassland adjacent to the former railway line.
“As the future route of a reinstated railway line is not known, council policy ensures that the former route is protected from development.”
CTIL was founded in 2012 as a joint venture between Vodafone and Telefonica to manage network sites for both companies.