Hawick bar and grill bid dropped after failing to curry favour with neighbours

Councillor Davie Paterson has supported High Street residents.
Councillor Davie Paterson has supported High Street residents.

A bid to convert a former frozen food outlet in Hawick into an Indian bar and grill has been withdrawn after locals kicked up a stink about it.

Raj Kuma, of Birmingham-based Punjabi Grill, had put in an application to Scottish Borders Council for change of use of the old Farmfoods premises at 39 to 41 High Street.

However, that conversion bid raised concerns among residents living above and beside the proposed site.

Views were raised in particular over potential for the smell of spicy foods getting into their homes and over safety fears in the event of a fire at the property.

In the face of the objections, Mr Kuma this week informed council planners he had decided to withdraw the application.

One of the objectors was Kerry Parker, a resident of High Street for a decade.

She said: “I have been here over 10 years and bought my property over six years ago.

“There have been many things in the property since Farmfoods moved out and many different problems that have been reported to the council over the years.

“My main concern is the smell of cooking that will infiltrate into my property and that is an ongoing concern.

“I know there is no proper insulation between me and the shop.

“There is also no fire exit out back, so this is a concern for my property if there is a fire.”

Another High Street resident, Andrew Rae, added: “I don’t mind shops getting filled, but another food restaurant on the High Street underneath my flat? No.

“Sorry, but I don’t want the smell of spicy food through my home. As they need a flue to take the smell from the kitchen, I would like to know where they are going to put it on their building as I am sure that would knock down the value of my property.”

Hawick and Hermitage councillor Davie Paterson also spoke up for other concerned residents, saying: “They said they are absolutely delighted that more shops are being filled in the High Street, but they stressed they have some real concerns about the prospect of a change of use to a grill and bar.

“There are problems at the moment with lack of soundproofing installed and, as you will appreciate, a bar and grill is completely different to what it used to be.

“They are also concerned about shutters being directly below their bedroom and that they will be awakened late at night when this premises closes.”

Leanne Huggan, another High Street resident, added: “It is great to see so many shops being filled on the high street, but why another restaurant?”