Melrose: Conversion of ex-bank cafe gets green light from council

A RETROSPECTIVE planning bid for the conversion of former Royal Bank of Scotland premises into a cafe selling alcohol has been approved.

Scottish Borders Council has granted planning approval to Alan Thomson, of Priorsdene, Melrose, for an application to change the use of the Cullen and Kilshaw Royal Bank Chambers office in High Street in Melrose to retail use, workshop and a cafe selling alcohol.

There were submissions supporting and opposing the proposal.

One of the opponents, Gillian Todd, said there were already enough food and drink outlets in Melrose, adding: ‘From what I understand the bid is for a cafe which I suspect , would only be open during the day, so not sure why the need for alcohol.

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“There are certainly enough places in Melrose to eat and drink and in my opinion the opening of another establishment could be characterized as oversupply. I can also add that although a request for planning has been submitted, the establishment is now open and currently operating as a café.

Supporter Annette Fleming said: ‘I have lived near the property for 16 years, the offices have been empty for several years now. The back of the property was overgrown with litter strewn all around which had a detrimental effect on this part of town. The change will improve this part of Melrose’s High Street. It will benefit both residents and visitors.

“While Melrose is well served for restaurants, there are so many visitors there is plenty of room for an extra cafe.”

In her report, Julie Hayward, council planning officer, said: ‘The building to which this application relates is the former premises of the Royal Bank of Scotland on the corner of High Street and St Dunstan’s Lane in Melrose.

“The proposal will bring a long-vacant building back to the city center and provide a facility for residents and visitors to the city, which will benefit the local economy. The number of similar establishments is not a planning problem.

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