Councillors split over Melrose brothers bid to relocate their agricultural dealership business

The wait goes on for two Melrose brothers in a long-running bid to re-locate their agricultural business to an adjoining brownfield site.

By Paul Kelly
Monday, 15th November 2021, 12:28 pm
Andrew and Garry Wight. (Photo: BILL McBURNIE)
Andrew and Garry Wight. (Photo: BILL McBURNIE)

Andrew and Garry Wight are directors with the agricultural and engineering company AB Wight on the Charlesfield Industrial Estate at St Boswells.

They want to relocate to an adjoining 1.7 acre brownfield site, which they have acquired.

But a planning application submitted to Scottish Borders Council to transfer operations to the former Slaters Yard was originally refused on the grounds it was not in line with the authority’s Local Development Plan.

It was felt that the applicant had not fully considered the possibilities of moving to a site within the Charlesfield Industrial Estate itself, or another alternative location within the central borders.

The brothers had counter-argued that there was an operational need to move on to their preferred site as they looked to expand the business, which was established in 2012.

Today, Monday, November 15, members of the council’s Local Review Body were divided three votes to three on whether to agree the applicant’s appeal against refusal.

Concern centred on the lack of written evidence, rather than ‘word of mouth’ notification, that there was no alternative site available, at Charlesfield in particular.

The review body now aims to reconvene in January for that evidence to be provided – and for a final decision to be made.

Councillor Eric Small said: “I think all we are looking for is just confirmation that there are no sites within Charlesfield which would accommodate this business.

"It’s okay with having word of mouth but we have to get it confirmed. I’m keen to see young firms within the Borders growing but we need confirmation.”

Committee chair Councillor Simon Mountford added: “We are looking exclusively at Charlesfield, we are not looking any wider than that and what we are looking for is evidence which is agreed by officers and the applicant that gives an accurate position on what is available.”

Earlier in the meeting Councillor Donald Moffat spoke in favour of agreeing the appeal, saying: “After the site visit and everything I’ve heard I think that the operation needs to be at the site proposed and I think it fits in well the screening around about it.”