AN important Hawick town centre building is to be turned into a restaurant, writes Kenny Paterson.
Councillors backed the plans by David Wilson for the empty premises at 12 High Street at Monday’s planning meeting.
The B-listed building, which sits below a guesthouse, has been vacant since Scottish Borders Council moved out its registrar’s office.
Planning committee chairman Ron Smith, a Hawick councillor, said: “It seems an appropriate location for a restaurant on the main street of Hawick.”
Selkirkshire councillor Michelle Ballantyne added: “It is good to see an empty building being brought back to use and good that a restaurant rather than a cafe will be opened.”
Fears from local residents included noise and smell, and neighbour Sarah Rennie has written to SBC. She wrote: “The plans show the potential flue in very close proximity to one of my bedroom windows.
“Noise and smells from this flue would impede my ability to ventilate my property.”
But in her report, planning officer Julie Hayward said modifications to the flue design meant cooking smells will be taken away from a rear courtyard.
“It is not considered that the proposed use would generate significant levels of noise over and above similar uses in the area,” she said
John Hayward, SBC’s development standards manager, told the meeting: “There has been a considerable amount of time and effort gone into dealing with concerns about this application.”
Mr Wilson told SBC that he has been in the restaurant trade for 36 years and the new venture would give Teries and visitors a wider choice of eateries, which he claimed would benefit the town.
Originally constructed in 1857, 12 High Street is in a classical Italianate palazzo style typical of bank buildings of that time. Historic Scotland said the office, which it listed in 1977, makes a “significant contribution to the streetscape” of the High Street.