South Scotland

Scottish Borders Council loses Galashiels land sale legal fight

Burgh Yard Image copyright Scottish Borders Council
Image caption The site was formerly home to a petrol station, garages and workshops

A council has lost a legal battle over the sale of land for a new hotel, restaurant and housing scheme.

Scottish Borders Council entered into a £1m agreement with Stirling-based Ramoyle Developments for the project at the former Burgh Yard in Galashiels.

It later decided to rescind the deal arguing a planning application had not been submitted in time.

However, the Court of Session concluded that the deadline for submission had been met by the developers.

The council announced the sale of the land in March 2017 with a planning application to be lodged by 22 November that year.

Unpaid fees

Developers completed the application in time online but a cheque for payment of fees was not received until after that date.

The legal debate centred on whether or not that constituted "submitting" the application in terms of their agreement.

SBC argued that it was not sufficient to complete some parts of the process but leave out others - such as the fee.

The local authority said that meant it was entitled to cancel the deal.

'Considering verdict'

The developers said a planning application had been properly lodged on time and that the issue of the payment was irrelevant.

A court ruling found that the submission of the online application was sufficient to meet the requirements of the contract.

It concluded the council had not been entitled to rescind the deal.

Following the decision, an SBC spokesperson said: "We are considering the verdict and our options."

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