Bid to site food van in layby near Earlston sparks fears for horses

Earlston.
Earlston.

Plans to operate a hot food van in a layby near Earlston have sparked fears over the health of nearby ponies and horses.

Businessman John Sclater wants to site a hot food and snacks trailer in a layby around 150m south of Earlston, but the owner of the adjacent field has objected, citing concerns over his horses eating disused burger rolls and rubbish he fears could be generated by such a stall.

The anonymous objector writes: “I am one of three horse livery owners in fields that sit on this layby.

“My entrance gate, which hosts trailers, is bang on the layby where said catering van is asking to go.

“People sitting in the layby already feed the horses rubbish – I have one pony already getting treated by the vet – so the last thing we need is burgers and rolls left around the field.

“I hope this van will be kept well away from the fields as we have young kids on horses that have to ride along that layby, and this van and its generator could scare a pony and cause an accident.

“Why is the next layby up not used? It would be a better idea, with no horses or gates to worry about.”

The application for a street trader’s licence is set to be heard by Scottish Borders Council’s civic government licensing committee tomorrow. 

Ahead of that meeting, Mr Sclater has written to the council to address the objector’s concerns. 

He writes: “Regarding children on ponies, I am initially only intending to trade from 7am to 2.30pm Tuesday till Friday so would rarely be there outwith school hours.

“I have already purchased a modern petrol generator, which has a low noise output of 65 decibels, while normal conversation is 60 decibels and a vacuum cleaner is 70, all of which will be far lower than passing lorries, tractors, and even cars.

“Regarding the feeding of ponies, I can only think that if this has been a problem in the past, then maybe a sign asking people not to do so might work.

“I would definitely discourage anyone from doing so, but the ponies seem to be behind an electric fence at the moment, which keeps them 10m away from the boundary fence between the field and the layby.

“At the moment, litter appears to be an issue, but as part of the conditions of my permission from Transport Scotland and of my planning consent, I will supply bins, and clear any waste or litter from the site at the end of each trading day.”