A retrospective application submitted by James Neil and Sons for a steel-framed function venue on land north-east of Runningburn Farm at Stichill has been given the thumbs-up.
Known as the Barn, that building replaces a marquee previously erected there to host events.
Runningburn Premier Events, a family-run diversification business based on a working arable farm, has been hosting weddings since 2013 though it is closed for now due to the current coronavirus outbreak.
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Previously, weddings were only allowed between April and October for five years from April 2016, but the new permanent structure, measuring 36m by 12m and with a 12m-by-6.5m annex and 6sq m porch, enables them to take place all year round.
The new application was approved by Scottish Borders Council assistant planning officer Euan Calvert under delegated powers.
In his report, he says: “The applicant has been operating as a wedding venue for some years but has recently built a permanent wedding structure and is planning to expand to attract more weddings and double income year on year until 2023.
“The site is a unique location which is private in setting with great views of the countryside.
“Eight weddings are booked for 2020-21.
“The business’s unique location is being demonstrated to be a justification for this expansion.
“Successful operation is now being demonstrated between 2015 and 2018.
“The business now aims to be a year-round venue not just for weddings but also for corporate events, family celebrations, charity balls and private functions.
“The Barn has been designed as a permanent insulated and heated structure with permanent kitchen, facilities and amenities.
“The dimensions are fractionally larger than the previous marquee structure but it is not harmful to character or amenity. The use will not conflict with the adjacent farm operations.
“There has been a successful marquee wedding venue business operating at this location for four or more years, and the expansion of this business is requested.
“Year-round use requires a permanent building, and this will in turn open up further business opportunities as a unique venue.
“The proposed financial projection is brief but in the current climate of the Covid-19 pandemic, any projection would be impossible and unrealistic.
“For all intents and purposes, the Barn is a new business venture for Runningburn Premier Events. It is significantly different in appearance to a marquee externally, but internally the finish is identical.
“Whether it will lend itself successfully as a wedding venue in future is really anyone’s guess.”
“The Barn arguably makes a better and more appropriate contribution than the marquee in terms of scale, appearance and finish.
“The design is synonymous with agricultural buildings found in this rural location and is therefore appropriate. The green colour is a successful contribution.
“The site is well concealed in the surrounding landscape setting.
“There is limited effect on the amenity and character of the wider rural landscape. There is certainly no harm to the visual amenities of the rural locality.”
No objections to the application were submitted.