The managing director of a Hawick knitwear factory has told of his delight after approval was granted for ambitious expansion plans.
Scottish Borders Council has agreed an application from Scott and Charters, which was established back in 1955, to build a new two-storey factory on land at its existing site in Fairhurst Drive, Burnfoot.
The work will involve the demolition of a single-storey factory and its replacement with a modern structure.
Welcoming the decision this week, the company’s managing director, Malcolm Grant, said: “We’re delighted that the planning application has been approved, and we are looking forward to starting the work in due course.”
He added: “The directors of Scott and Charters were delighted to receive confirmation last week from Scottish Borders Council’s planning department that the company’s application to erect a new purpose-built property in Fairhurst Drive in Burnfoot has been agreed.
“Our first priority on Monday morning was to bring everyone together in the factory and break the good news.
“The response from our employees was wonderful, and I think we are all keen now to see the project begin in earnest.
“Throughout the build, the company’s manufacturing capability will be unaffected, and all customer orders will be produced in the original factory located at the front of the plot as the new build takes shape at the rear.”
The company is not outlining any specific job implications of the expansion but Mr Grant has in the past stated the hope the new building would “re-establish Hawick as the go-to destination for luxury knitwear”.
In her report approving the plans, Julie Hayward, the council’s chief planning officer, says the move would “secure and create” jobs and provide a benefit to residents of the town.
She says: “The factory would have a smaller footprint but would be two-storey and situated at the rear of the site.
“The proposal would result in a modern factory which will improve efficiency for the company, secure and create jobs and benefit the local community.
“It provides an opportunity for more efficient machinery and for sound installation that does not currently exist.
“In addition, the factory would be set back to the rear of the site further away from these residential properties, 40 metres from the front elevation of the nearest residential property, so there would be no overlooking or loss of privacy issues.”
Hawick and Denholm councillor Stuart Marshall said: “I’m absolutely thrilled that planning consent has been granted, and this news will allow the company to crack on with its plans of rebuilding its current plant within the Burnfoot area.
“This is really good news for Hawick and I think will instil a huge amount of confidence in how our knitwear industry is faring at the moment within the town.
“I’m sure the employees will be delighted when this new factory is complete.”
The work would be carried out in two phases, and the first would see part of the existing building demolished but the rest retained during construction of the new facility.
A new access off Fairhurst Drive will also be formed and a new car park with 27 spaces created.
The company, employing more than 30 members of staff, was taken over by high-end London clothing company WRA, operator of a retail store in London’s Mayfair, in 2015.