Kelso folk divided on whether they want to wake up and smell the coffee

Kelso folk are divided on whether they want to wake up and smell the coffee as a bid for a second Borders Starbucks drive-thru hangs in the balance.

Thus far – January 16 – 66 notices of objection have been lodged to Scottish Borders Council over plans for a proposed new facility on derelict land north east of Oakwood in Station Road.

Set against the opposition there have also been 27 comments of support for the development.

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If approved the drive-thru would be the second such outlet in the Borders, with Starbucks opening on the site of the old Abbotsford Arms Hotel in Galashiels, near the town’s Transport Interchange, in December 2022.

Opponents have raised concerns over increased traffic, litter, road safety and over-provision in the area.

One contributor said: “There are already a number of locally owned and run coffee shops and cafes in Kelso and a takeaway coffee shop of the type proposed has in the past lead to an increase of litter in the surrounding area.

"The proposed position is close to a major roundabout and could cause problems with increased traffic in an already busy area.”

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Another opponent added: “We have an abundance of excellent coffee shops and take away facilities in the town.

"Carry out coffees are available from Sainsbury’s Petrol Station and The Jet Garage for anyone passing through.

"People passing through, who seem to be the clientèle expected to use the proposed facility, are not going to be stopping to spend time/money in the town centre therefore it would be of no advantage to the local economy.”

The application has garnered the support of Kelso & District councillor Tom Weatherston, who said: “This site has sat derelict for well over 20 years and has become badly overgrown and lets the area down, it’s good news for Kelso that the site has been purchased.

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“This site was considered suitable for a supermarket during the public appeal for a Kelso supermarket, so in planning terms this should be treated favourably. Sainsbury has recently closed their cafe so this would replace that facility in this part of town.

“This type of drive through facility is a different offer to town centre cafes and I am confident this proposal would not have a big impact on the town centre businesses, and would be more attractive to people driving through the area.

"It will be very good to see this park of Kelso tidied up after many years.”

A supporting statement with the application says: “The coffee shop will complement and support the existing surrounding commercial uses, and will in effect replace the coffee shop that was formerly in place at the nearby Sainsbury’s.”