Horse-box trailer go-ahead for Melrose Rugby Club
A Borders rugby club has been given the green light to convert a horse-box trailer-turned mobile eatery into a permanent feature outside its ground.
Following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, a trailer selling coffee, tea and snacks was established outside of the turnstiles at The Greenyards, home to Melrose Rugby Club.
Such a provision was permitted by the Scottish Government’s planning relaxations, brought about by Covid.
In 2021, the trailer was disbanded in alignment with the removal of the planning relaxations.
However, in June 2023 it was reinstated under different management.
Now the rugby club has submitted a planning application for retrospective approval to enable it to remain in place.
Members of Melrose & District Community Council were divided on the application.
Some felt it would result in the provision of a useful facility on the edge of the town.
However, others thought it would reduce the viability of other businesses in the town who provide takeaway services.
In her report approving the application, Julie Hayward, the council’s lead planning officer, says: “The site is in front of the entrance to the rugby club in Melrose.
“This area is characterised by a number of commercial uses, the sport/recreation uses at The Greenyards and the public open space opposite.
“It is considered that the development would be in keeping with the mixed use character of the area.”
A spokesperson for the club said: “The use of the ground to site the horsebox trailer does not impede the turnstiles on match days. It is shifted for the Sevens to accommodate the entrance area.
“As it stands, the current trailer affords people the opportunity to meet outside or whilst on the go, avoiding the need to enter a premises. This offering greatly adds to the well-being of those using the facility and it is very popular for these reasons.
“Indeed, the use and demand for this type of catering is one of the reasons for its reinstatement. The provision aids the social aspect of remaining outdoors and caters for the demand which the original horsebox trailer met.
“Currently the horsebox trailer is run by a local businesswoman on a profit share basis with Melrose Rugby Club, under licence terms.
“Its provision provides part time jobs for four local people, whilst providing a service to its many customers. The income received by Melrose Rugby is used to support the Community Rugby Development Programme and the Youth Club Hardship Fund, thereby creating inward investment in the community. Local suppliers are used to provide many of the ingredients and items sold.”
The trailer currently operates between the hours of 8am and 8pm, seven days a week.