Several councillors spoke out during a discussion this week on an application for Cherrybank Stables in Waterbeck.
They were unhappy to hear about the planning history for the site, which included several bids for retrospective permission.
And although the committee gave the green light to the two applications in front of them, for a stable block extension and also for a house and garage on the site in the middle of the village, they expressed disquiet at the past events.
Annandale East and Eskdale Councillor Archie Dryburgh said: “I am quite concerned about several retrospective plannings and I would be concerned if any future application came in and work had already started. This must not happen again.
“I have no planning reasons for objecting today, however I want it made aware that I will be watching this particular area because of the amount of retrospective planning applications in the past.”
Committee chairman Jim Dempster echoed that and added: “Any future retrospective application might not be particularly well looked upon. We would not be happy if the retrospective approach continues, it would be really helpful if they change their approach.”
He also called for previous, outstanding conditions to be finalised.
In reply, the applicant’s agent Mr McCall said: “My client is aware there have been breaches in the past and has been informed these issues must now be resolved. He will be advised not to do anything without any planning consent being granted. I don’t envisage any problems.”
During the meeting, the committee heard statements from objectors for both applications.
In the case of the house, Waterbeck and Middlebie Community Council objected to the greenfield location, saying it was outwith the village boundary and could set a precedent.
They also complained about the number of retrospective bids from Cherrybank and criticised the local authority’s procedures for not being transparent enough.
Councillor Jane Maitland asked for the group’s concerns to be noted.