Rutherfords in The Square has been closed since lockdown in the spring,
Paul Mitchell wants to take over the multi award-winning business from Simon and Debbie Rutherford. However he says the current covid-19 restrictions make it unviable without additional space, and is hoping to use two car parking spaces in front of the pub for outdoor seating.
Speaking at the December meeting of Kelso Community Council, held via Zoom on Tuesday, Mr Mitchell said: “The operating schedule internally for Rutherford’s is 40 members of the public, and presumably that is stood up.
“On the analysis I’ve done with Debbie and Simon looking inside, on the two metre-spacing restriction it reduces it right down to 12 people which is really the reason why Debbie and Simon have not been able to reopen.
“With the one-metre plus restriction it is around 16, so it really is very helpful if I can access some outside space just to get over this period and make the business viable.
“I really want to get this business back up and running again. It’s a vibrant addition to the nighttime economy in the town and I think it’s been quite sorely missed. I run a B&B in the town and my guests have certainly missed it.”
Town provost Dean Weatherston said: “Personally I am in favour of this if helps get the business taken over and gets the doors open, it would get some employment.
“I know we have parking problems but I think at this time the loss of two parking places, temporarily, could be accommodated.”
Paul Roberts said: “I think it is vitally important that we support the businesses in the town. The Cross Keys has a sitting area outside the front door which is utilised.
“Having the extra space outside Rutherfords allows it to become a viable business, and I think as a community council we should support it.”
Harry Tomczyk was in favour of the plan, but felt a time restriction should be imposed.
“On balance I would support it on the basis that we would like to get that pub up and running, but I would like to see a time limit set on the use of that space,” he said.
The community council agreed to support Mr Mitchell’s bid for use of the spaces, but only while covid restrictions were in place.