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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 November 2007, 16:47 GMT
Concerns raised over hotel plans
Roxburghe Hotel
The plans include expanding accommodation to 50 hotel rooms
Conservationists have voiced concerns over a proposed expansion of a hotel and golf course at Heiton near Kelso.

Plans to extend the Roxburghe Hotel and Golf Club by 28 rooms and create an additional 60 luxury lodges will be submitted to Scottish Borders Council.

The owners say 70 jobs will be created by the project, which has been welcomed by Scottish Enterprise Borders.

However, Kelso Community Woodlands has raised concerns about the potential impact on the site's mature woodland.

The Roxburghe Estate has claimed the development will create the first five-star resort in the Borders.

The Duke of Roxburghe said: "The Scottish Borders has so much to offer the visitor with wonderful countryside and a wealth of unrivalled attractions.

"There is increasing demand for leisure breaks and we see a major opportunity to create a mixed use resort in the heart of the Borders which we hope will encourage many new visitors to experience all that the Borders has to offer."

The estate said it had consulted with conservation experts and tourism officials before unveiling the proposals.

Tourism is of vital importance to the economy of the Scottish Borders
David Gass
Scottish Enterprise Borders

The plans also include a new golf clubhouse and a leisure facility with a spa, fitness centre and a swimming pool.

Roddy Jackson, the factor of the estate, said the resort would put Kelso "on the map".

David Gass, from Scottish Enterprise Borders, said: "Tourism is of vital importance to the economy of the Scottish Borders and Scottish Enterprise welcomes investment in tourism facilities in the region which enhance the attractions of the Borders to visitors, and generates additional tourism spend in the area.

"SEB looks forward to the outcome of the planning process relating to these major development proposals at the Roxburghe Hotel and Golf Course with interest."

A report commissioned by the estate on the ecological impact of the plans concluded that "given sensitive management and landscaping, the site with the development will be more bio-diverse than its present condition and the overall integrity will not be compromised".

However, David Gibson, a member of Kelso Community Woodlands, told the BBC Scotland news website: "What's being proposed is a big expansion.

"I don't see how a development on that scale could fail to impinge on the wooded areas or enhance the site's bio-diversity.

"Previous developments on the estate have been built on agricultural land, but when you're talking about building 60 lodges, some with three and four bedrooms, there will surely be pressure on the woodland."

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