Landmark Selkirk cafe will soon be off the menu forever

A landmark cafe at the entrance to Selkirk will soon be off the menu forever after approval was granted to demolish it.

Scottish Borders Council has rubber-stamped a bid to flatten the former Fletcher’s cafe at Hillside Terrace and to build a dwelling house in its place.

The cafe, which operated as a Little Chef in the 1970s and later as ‘Kennedy’s’, closed its doors early in 2019.

At the time Megan and Scott McGregor, who had run the outlet for four years, said they were calling time on their business to spend more time with their family and because the building required some upgrading.

Fletcher’s cafe in Selkirk, which has become “something of an eyesore”, according to the applicant’s agent.

The cafe, something of a Selkirk institution, was renowned for its purple signage and was previously run by Megan’s parents, Isobel and David Sanderson, from Galashiels.

In his report approving the change of use application, Carlos Clarke, the council’s lead planning officer, said: “The site is situated on the A7 and a number of properties are located to the west of the site. The design, materials and location of the new dwelling must ensure that the surrounding area is not significantly affected and that there is no significant loss of residential amenity for the occupiers of the neighbouring properties.”

A report from the applicant’s agent, Selkirk-based RM Architecture, said the building, in a prominent position at the southern entrance to the town, has become something of an eyesore.

It says: “Anecdotal evidence suggest that the premises was constructed in the early 1960’s, although the original use was unclear.

“It was then brought into use as part of the Little Chef chain in 1972 and has remained in use as a cafe until 2019 when it ceased trading and remains permanently closed since that time.

“The applicant, who owns and operates the adjoining garage premises, purchased the property from the previous owner in 2019 with a view to leasing the premises and for the cafe to remain in operation.

“However, the onset of Covid-19 in March 2020 brought the prolonged and permanent closure of the premises.

“Over the years it has become clear that the premises is not fit for purpose and has deteriorated to the point where it has become something of an eyesore at an important visual gateway into the town.”