Ex-Polish Shop conversion

Former Polish Shop 101 High Street, GalashielsFormer Polish Shop 101 High Street, Galashiels
Former Polish Shop 101 High Street, Galashiels
Galashiels High Street is to lose a former retail unit to housing after the green light was given for the conversion of the former Polish Shop.

An application to Scottish Borders Council, submitted by Edinburgh-based David Lowe, for the change of use of 101 High Street to a two-storey house has been rubber-stamped.

It was deemed that the building, adjacent to the town’s Citizens Advice Bureau, was appropritae for residential use as it was located just outside the main High Street.

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Even before lockdown, Galashiels had seen a number of retailers vacate the town centre, including Bonmarche, Dorothy Perkins and Burtons, all in Channel Street

Carlos Clarke, the council’s lead planning officer, said policy rules allowed the change of use of retail to housing as long as an application “maintains the character, vitality and viability and mixed use nature of the town centre.”

He added: “I recognise the loss of the retail use, but also note the building has had non-retail uses in the recent past, including a gym. I accept the residential use may be a less vibrant contributor to the town centre, and that there are no other ground floor residential uses fronting the High Street.

“However, a residential use will, nonetheless, be a positive contributor, and this shop comprises an unremarkable and modest property located at the end of the town centre, well away from the principal activity area of the town.

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“There is also a range of uses in this part of town already, including residential uses on upper floors. A residential use on the ground floor would have a negligible effect on the strength of the town centre overall and the character of this end of the town, and would maintain the mixed use nature of this area.

“This property has no leisure, entertainment or noisy commercial or industrial uses directly alongside or nearby, and no representations have been received suggesting a particular conflict should arise.

“I did have a concern that, given the residential flat would directly front the High Street, its amenity may be compromised by the noise and fumes of the busy road, as well as passing foot traffic, particularly in the evening.

“However, the proposal is for an outer pane to each opening which will be fixed, and a further double-glazed pane set internally, with reflective glazing. This would appearto protect residents from noise, fumes and privacy intrusion.”

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