Loanhead timber firm seeks new home in the Borders

Monday July 25th 2022


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Paul Kelly

A Midlothian-based family-run timber specialist is aiming to relocate to the Borders, it has emerged.

A planning application has been submitted to Scottish Borders Council for a new timber storage and processing facility on land south west of Westloch Farmhouse in Peebles, on the edge of Moorfoot Hills.

The applicant is Richard Spray, of Loanhead-based Pentland Biomass, a family-run business which has been providing firewood, wood pellets and other biofuels to Edinburgh and surrounding areas for more than a decade.

The aim is to relocate from the company’s current storage and processing yard at Loanhead to be closer to major timber processing facilities and to take advantage of the new site’s “remoteness from any sensitive designations and residential areas”.

In a report submitted with the application, Peebles-based CB3 Design & Architecture, on behalf of the applicant, say the facility has been designed to “provide a safe working environment, which minimises the visual impact on the landscape and works to improve the biodiversity of the natural environment”.

It adds: “Pentland Biomass is an established and successful business with a significant turnover and currently employing 10 staff. The proposed relocation of the timber yard operation from Loanhead to Westloch would represent a significant investment in the local rural area and would secure the long-term future of the existing workforce as well as provide a range of new local employment opportunities. It is anticipated the new facility at Westloch would employ 10 to 15 staff on both a full and part time basis.

“There will be three main buildings on site, and two main areas for timber storage. The main building will be the chipping shed, which is an agricultural barn with pre-cast concrete wall panels and profiled metal clad wall and roof panels. Located to the rear will be the smaller timber processing shed.

“The chipping and processing sheds will have solar panels installed to the south west of their roofs. The electricity generated will be used on the site, with excess power diverted back into the grid.”

There would be designated parking zones, with turning areas located to the west of the site for both staff and visitor parking, as well as heavy good vehicles.

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