The Conservation Area in Duns covers much of the town centre including Newtown Street and Castle Street.
This small market town came by its name from either the Gaelic Dun meaning fort (or hill fort), or from the Anglo-Saxon for a low hill with a flat summit.
The present town of Duns was developed around 1545 and is based around its medieval church, Market Square and Cross.
The Duns Conservation Area retains many distinctive townscape characteristics that can only be found in this Berwickshire market town.
Almost all streets run in a south-west to north-east direction with the majority of the properties being focused around the Market Square, the Golden Square and the carpark in front of the two banks, the Royal Bank of Scotland and the Bank of Scotland.
The Market Square is made-up of a rich assortment of commercial properties, while a substantial part of North Street and South Street are residential. A variety of different building styles are present throughout the Conservation Area and these all add to the uniqueness of the place.
Many of the properties are built hard to the footpath but on the whole they all tend to follow the streetscape. While all of the details highlighted above are important and contribute greatly to the character of Duns they do not do so in isolation.
The use of building materials and architectural details are just as important. Sandstone, harling, slate and occasionally pantiles all help to form the character. Architectural details such as transom lights, sash and case windows (though unfortunately there are some uPVC replacements), crowsteps and in some instances moulded hoods or other attractive features to openings also add to the sense of place.
Any new development must therefore aim to contribute to the existing character of the Conservation Area.
There are 118 listed buildings within the Conservation Area of which the Mercat Cross is category A.
Designation, adoption and boundary information
Alterations to the Duns Conservation Area boundary from that shown in the Berwickshire Local Plan (1994) consist of the inclusion of land of Duns Castle, 11, 13 and 15 Langtongate, Culreoch, The Coach House, Barniken House Hotel, Maryfield, Bridgend Garage, and 34 and 36 Easter Street. Exclusions consist of 1, 2 and 3 Blinkbonnie, Camilla Cottage and the properties at Manse Gardens. General tidying of the boundary is also proposed so that it follows elements on the ground.