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Exciting vision for Lawries Garage

Border Motor Group, represent 7 major automotive manufacturers across the South of Scotland and Cumbria and opened their first business in St. Boswells 26 years ago, subsequently acquiring Lawrie’s Garage in 1999.
In recent years Lawrie’s Garage has grown considerably through its representation of the Volkswagen, Skoda and Seat brands and now sells in excess of 1,000 pre-owned cars per year alongside its service and repair facility which handles over 7,000 vehicle visits per annum. In addition to being selected as Volkswagen’s number 1 Approved Used Car Centre in 2016 the business has also won a number of national awards in recognition of its success.
However, the existing facility no longer meets the exacting standards set by the company’s brand partners and therefore puts at risk the long term future of the business. Plans to re-develop the current site were abandoned due to the costs of upgrading the aged building and the overall impact on the sustainability of the site. Additionally the fuel station on the current site no longer complies
with accepted standards and will eventually close if not relocated, resulting in less choice for local motorists.
The planned new development will afford Border Motor Group the opportunity to secure employment for existing Lawrie’s & Border Toyota staff and provide scope for increasing the Group’s employee numbers in St. Boswells from the existing 80 staff to in excess of 100 as future growth aspirations are met.
Plans for the new development will also ensure vastly improved access and exit onto the A68 compared to existing arrangements for the Group’s facilities in the St. Boswells area and in particular resolve the current issues with vehicle transporter incursion onto the trunk road during loading and unloading activity.
Border Motor Group are fully committed to maximising the potential of renewables and have instructed their architects to investigate the use of biomass technology for heating and rainwater capture for use in car washing and toilets amongst other renewable solutions.
Owner of Border Motor Group, Archie Maclean:
I am delighted that following the company’s considerable facility investments over recent years in other locations they now have the opportunity to invest in the St. Boswells area, where the company has its original roots. As a constituent element of the planning process Border Motor Group will engage in a public consultation exercise so that the local community can be fully appraised of the details of the development. Subject to planning consent it is hoped that the development would get underway in early 2018.
Full planning permission is being sought for the following development description: Erection of car showroom, including workshop, offices, petrol filling station, shop, café, parking, access, pedestrian crossing and associated infrastructure works
The location of the site is on land north west of Border Toyota Garage, St Boswells and as shown to the right.
Process & Timetable
A Pre-Application Notice (PAN) was submitted to Scottish Borders Council on the 23rd June 2017 and given reference number 17/00902/PAN. The submission of the PAN effectively starts the consultation clock and informs the Council of the applicant’s intention to lodge a planning application after a minimum of 12 weeks from notification.
Key Principles of Design
• Create a sensitive and high quality development that is sustainable in the long term.
• To be single story and use high quality materials and boundary treatment to bed into the local landscape
• To improve accessibility by all modes of transport
• To fully meet the commercial requirements of the car franchise and petrol filling station operators
• Promote renewable technologies at every opportunity2017
Supporting Documents
It is intended that the following key documents will be lodged in support of the application:
• Planning Statement
• Design & Access Statement
• Masterplan
• Architectural Drawings
• Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment
• Transport Assessment
• Economic Benefit Statement
• Habitat/Ecological Assessment
• Cultural Heritage and Archaeology Assessment
• Noise & Odour Impact Assessment
• Geo-environmental Assessment
• Drainage Strategy
• Construction Method Statement
Movement and Public Realm
A key aspiration of the scheme is to have a high quality public realm around the site and which enables ease of access between the core components. This will be down by informal footways throughout the site as well as a new pedestrian crossing over the A68 to ease access between the site and St Boswells Village centre.
The design seeks to accommodate all forms of access and transport but seeks to ensure that pedestrians have a safe route to both the car showroom or shop/ café through the provision of a new footway along the site frontage which will connect with internal links to the buildings.
A dropped kerb crossing of the A68 will also be provided at the southern end of the Toyota Garage site, providing a continuous link between the proposed development and St Boswells via new and existing footways.
Drainage Strategy
The SEPA third generation flood map exhibits that the site is not within the West Burn fluvial floodplain and is not at risk of pluvial flooding. The site is not considered to be at risk of flooding from surface water runoff or groundwater.
The site lies within the catchment of the West Burn. The West Burn is an appropriate sink for attenuated surface water site runoff, restricted to Greenfield equivalency. The surface water run-off from the site will embrace a Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SUDS), designed in accordance with the requirements of Scottish Borders Council and SEPA.
A separate foul drainage system will convey arisings from the site to the Scottish Water asset located within the A68 to the east of the development.
It is anticipated that surface water arisings from the PFS will, following discharge via a petrol interceptor, be similarly connected to the Scottish Water sewer.
Cultural Heritage & Archaeology
A Desk Based Archaeological Assessment has been undertaken which identifies the existing cultural heritage assets and determines the potential impact of the development upon each. A number of heritage assets have been identified within the 1km study area including Dryburgh Abbey, Lessudden Medieval village, coffins found at Lessudden House in the 1800s, finds of an Iron Age stone ball at Greenside and gold coins at St Moden’s Chapel, medieval rigand- furrow on St Boswells Green, and linear features visible as cropmarks at Greenside. The proposals are expected to have no impact on these assets.
The site does not sit within or adjacent to a Designated Site and as such there will be no direct impact from the proposed development. An initial desk based assessment has been undertaken which shows that given the nature of development, proximity to any designated site and reasons for designation; there will be no significant impacts arising from the proposed development.
Recommendations for mitigation measures have been suggested which include further detailed surveys, provision of bat boxes to compensate for any loss of roosts, and only working within specified timescales.
It is considered at this stage that any impacts on any local species will not be significant and should it be required mitigation measures will be put in place.
Geo Environmental
Underlying the surface topsoil it is anticipated that the superficial deposits will be predominantly boulder clay formed in the Quaternary Period. Sandstone bedrock prevails at depth. The site is Greenfield in nature and is no evidence of any historical activities of a contaminative nature.
Landscape and Visual Appraisal
A landscape and visual appraisal (LVA) of the proposed development was carried out during August 2017 by Brindley Associates, Landscape Architects and Environmental Planners. The LVA concluded that the agricultural land north of Border Toyota is capable of accommodating an appropriately scaled redevelopment and extension of the existing car showroom.
The ridgeline height of the proposed built structures is low lying and, in combination with intervening landform at Hawthorndene, would restrict the urbanising influence of the proposed development upon the broader landscape character; limiting adverse effects to the development footprint and its immediate setting. The client’s intent to modify the existing site levels (in turn reducing the overall height of the proposed buildings) coupled with locally appropriate landscape mitigation proposals should mitigate any potential visual effects.
Visibility of and across the site, is considered to be largely limited by the existing landscape framework, built form and intervening topography to receptors passing the proposed development on the A68. The appropriate siting, design and landscape mitigation proposals incorporated within the proposed development are predicted to visually contain the proposal and establish locally appropriate rural aspect to site boundaries, defining the new settlement boundary of St Boswells.
Vehicular access to the site will be provided by way of two new junctions with the A68, one allowing access and egress and one, egress only. The existing Border Toyota Garage access will be closed with the Garage to be accessed / egressed via the new junctions.
Both junctions and the internal road network will be able to accommodate the movement of the largest articulated vehicle ensuring that all servicing can be achieved from within the site and no vehicles will need to stop on the A68.
The new facility will replace the existing Lawrie’s Garage, petrol filling station and shop; the existing traffic movements associated with the Lawrie’s Garage site will therefore simply relocate to the new development. However, as the proposed development will be larger than the existing facility, it is likely that there will be an element of new vehicle trips generated by an enlarged workforce and expanded customer base.
Surveys have recently been undertaken of the existing Lawrie’s Garage and the Border Toyota Garage to determine current traffic movements into and out of the sites. Once the data is available it will be used to determine the future traffic generation of the new site based on the relocation of existing traffic and increase in development size.
Currently there are many car movements from Border Toyota to Lawrie’s Garage for fuel, car storage & other uses which will cease if both companies operate from one site.
Economic Benefits
The economic benefits of the two Border Motor Group operations within St Boswells are significant and the company is one of the largest employers in the area, employing currently a direct work force of 80 people, but expecting that number to exceed 100 as a result of this proposal.
There are a number of small local sub contractors who currently work on behalf of Border Motor Group and these businesses will also benefit from this proposal. Currently there is a trend for motor franchises to be based in large cities with less and less representation in smaller communities like the Borders.
The two Border Motor Group sites represent Volkswagen, Skoda, Seat, BP and Toyota, currently they do not meet the exacting franchise standards of these companies meaning that these two sites are at risk if they do not make the changes which allow them to achieve franchise standards.
This proposal will allow Border Motor Group to develop a modern facility meeting our various franchise standards, guaranteeing the employment of our staff and continuing to give the Borders area the choice of buying these brands locally. It will also allow the St Boswells area to continue with a local fuel station and a shop
Date posted: 13th, September, 2017