The owner of Mayfield Garden Centre in Kelso, which underwent a major expansion last year, has incurred the wrath of neighbours by applying for a permit to sell alcohol.
Carlisle-based William Strike Ltd is seeking a licence to sell drink from a small display area at the Glebe Lane site, close to the River Tweed, between 10am and 10pm daily.
The firm has also applied for an on-sales licence for its new 200-seater coffee bar/restaurant.
But it is the off-sales bid which has elicited objections from nine elderly residents living in nearby Mayfield Gardens.
“There is no call for off-sales within the garden centre,” writes neighbour John Wightman in a letter to Scottish Borders Licensing Board which will consider the Strike bid tomorrow (Friday).
“It could affect the amenity of the area, especially if young adults choose to have late evening drinking sessions beside a highly dangerous stretch of the Tweed.”
Mr and Mrs P. Rhodes claim the off-sales hours are “quite out of order in this peaceful area of Kelso” while Mrs J. Bastion states: “However small the outlet is, take-away drink should not be allowed on this site.”
Another Mayfield Gardens resident, Mrs M. Gliksten, says the setting of the garden centre, a former market garden, is of “great environmental and amenity value”.
She says last year’s expansion of the business, including the provision of 100 car parking spaces, had already put traffic pressure on narrow roads, like The Butts and Glebe Lane, which have survived intact since the days of horse-drawn vehicles.
“Our concerns lie with the hours requested for off-sales which, we contend, would be an over-commercialisation of the site,” writes Mrs Gliksten.
“If the application is granted, it will greatly increase the scope of the business and the premises could, in very short order, emerge as a supermarket.”
She says that “after years of trouble”, late night hooliganism and vandalism in the river area was under control.
“But residents remain fearful that night-time alcohol sales could lead to a resurgence of the problem,” she adds.
Neither the police nor licensing standards officer Ian Tunnah have offered any objections to the firm’s application.