Selkirk textile business boss going flat out to fight planning ruling requiring relocation

A businesswoman running an internet-based vintage textile company from a house in Selkirk is appealing against a planning ruling requiring her to relocate.

By Paul Kelly
Thursday, 9th July 2020, 2:41 pm
Penelope Textiles boss Penny Burgess.
Penelope Textiles boss Penny Burgess.

A retrospective application submitted in November by Penny Burgess for change of use of a residential flat in the town’s Shawburn Road to accommodate her company Penelope Textiles was rejected by Scottish Borders Council planners in February.

Before moving to that flat, the business, selling haberdashery as well as textiles, was based for four years at Riverside Mills in Selkirk until it was required to move.

As the property is in a residential area, approval for change of use is required for Ms Burgess, of Tower Street in Selkirk, to continue to operate from it.

32 Shawburn Road in Selkirk.

Members of the council’s local review body will consider her appeal against refusal of her application at their next meeting, to be held on Monday, July 13, via video-link.

In a report to councillors, planning officer Brett Taylor says: “The living room of the property has been converted into an office, and two bedrooms are now stock rooms, with the kitchen and bathroom forming part of the applicant’s laundry facilities.

“Given the location of the property within a residential area and following a site visit, it was established that the entire property had been converted into a business use, with the owner living at another address within Selkirk.

“The applicant has provided a supporting statement giving an economic justification for the continued use of the property as a business.

“However, I do not consider the information provided is a justifiable reason for the property to cease being used as a residential dwelling.

The economic benefits of the development, whilst material, will not be substantial.

“There is also potential to use allocated office and storage space elsewhere in the town and the applicant has not demonstrated why such space is not suitable or available.

“Bearing in mind the growth of internet-based businesses, this type of proposal could be repeated many times over the area and it is important that its location within a residential context is justified.

“The business should be sited in a location more suited to a commercial business.”

In a supporting statement submitted with her application, Ms Burgess says: “In the four years my business was based at Riverside Mills, I had one member of the public visit my business, and do not foresee that this ratio is likely to increase.

“On average, in terms of deliveries arriving, two small boxes arrive from France every couple of months and three to six times a year my auction purchases are delivered.

“I actually receive more post and deliveries at my home address for personal use than I do at my business address.”