To bee or not to bee, that is the question for Borders planners considering bid to turn old Caddonfoot school into hive of activity

There’s sure to be a buzz in the air at a former primary school if a bid by a beehive sales firm to relocate there is approved.

Tuesday, 28th January 2020, 12:52 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th January 2020, 12:58 pm
The former Caddonfoot primary school.

Family-run firm Caddon Hives, currently based at Tweedvale Mills West at Walkerburn, is eyeing up a move to the old Caddonfoot primary school site near Clovenfords and has submitted a change-of-use application to Scottish Borders Council planners.

Father and son Bill and Peter Birch believe such a move would create several new jobs.

Their plan is to create a beekeeping online and over-the-counter shop also offering education, advice, training and extraction services.

The primary school, closed in 2012, was converted into an energy research facility in May 2015, but the company behind it shut up shop last year it and the site has been vacant since.

Caddon Hives started off selling from its owners’ home in 2005 and has been expanding its product range – including protective clothing and accessories as well as hives – ever since, prompting its search for a new base.

It’s said to be one of only two businesses of its kind in Scotland, the other being in Fife.

The school lay empty for three years before it was bought by its current owner, Water Engine Technologies, and had fallen into disrepair, necessitating extensive refurbishment before it was fit for use again.

Now it is empty once again, it has been a magnet for vandals and thieves, with much of the lead in its roof having been stolen.

A spokesperson for Galashiels-based architect Camerons, acting as agent for the Birches, said: “Caddon Hives is looking to expand its services as part of an effort to promote an environment-enriching and environmentally-friendly business.

“The business’s current location at Tweedvale Mills West industrial park is no longer suitable for its requirements as it is over a number of locations and it is now looking to consolidate onto one site.

“The proposed relocation would provide a several new jobs and be a benefit to the local community.

“The business is predominantly mail order and would only have a large-scale delivery once or twice a year.

“Couriers call to pick up the purchased hives for delivery to customers.

“Caddon Hives does not believe there would be any environmental impact on its operations.

“It is a rural leisure-based business which will be accommodating working beehives and therefore requires a rural and not a town centre or industrial park setting.

“The proposed relocation of the Caddon Hives business to the former Caddonfoot primary school building is an amazing opportunity for the business to consolidate and expand.

“It will bring an unoccupied former school building back into use, providing local employment opportunities.

“If the school continues to remain unoccupied and unmaintained, it will only continue to deteriorate and that may well result in its future demolition.”