‘Jobs will be lost’ warning over Berwickshire planning bid

The proposed new workshop at Duns Road.The proposed new workshop at Duns Road.
The proposed new workshop at Duns Road.
A Berwickshire village joinery firm will be forced to lay-off staff if a bid for a new workshop fails to win the green light, it has emerged.

Marchmont Farms Ltd (MFL) submitted an application to Scottish Borders Council for the erection of a new workshop on Duns Road Industrial Estate for use by Greenlaw-based joinery firm G & J Waddell Ltd.

The firm is an important supplier to MFL, regularly undertaking joinery works around the Marchmont Estate.

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The proposal had wide-ranging support with 16 individual expressions of support along with eight objections – seven from a single family living opposite the Border Embroideries factory.

But the application was refused on the grounds that the proposed location was outwith the development boundary for Greenlaw and would “not constitute a logical extension to the settlement”.

Now MFL is set to appeal the decision before the council’s Local Review Body when it meets on Monday, April 17.

And members are to be informed that were the workshop not to be approved it would have negative implications for the firm.

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A report to the committee says: “G&J Waddell was established at East High Street, Greenlaw in 1955 by Dod and Johnny Waddell.

“It prospered and they needed a workshop. They were able to find a scrap of land and bought an ex-RAF shed from Winfield Aerodrome. The office stayed at East High Street, Greenlaw, where it remains, 67 years on.

“The shed is at Eccles – sandwiched between Forsyths’ vehicle workshop and Olivers’ haulage yard. It has been enlarged and improved but is no longer adequate to contain the enterprise.

“Johnny Waddell’s son Kenny took charge in 1991. During 20 of his 30 years at the helm, he has been looking for a suitable workshop or site that willallow the business to continue growing. It currently employs a staff of 17, including a dozen joiners.

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“One of these is Kenny’s son, Graeme. Recently joining his parents as a company director, Graeme wants to exploit opportunities to make bespoke items such as staircases, kitchens and garden furniture, and maybe open a trade counter, none of which is possible at the existing workshop. It is anticipated these activities will create 11 more full-time jobs in the short term, with long-term potential for double that.

“This is a Greenlaw business, run from Greenlaw by Greenlaw people. Several of the staff live in the town.

“Moving away would harm the business. The problem is – there is no suitable workshop in the town, and nowhere to build one.

“The council’s Economic Development Section has been consulted and is unable to help. The directors have run out of options. If this appeal is unsuccessful their only other option is to lay-off joiners and other staff so that the younger generation can use the current workshop for making a few of the larger joinery items.

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“The proposal is to build a new, fit for purpose workshop at the Duns Road Industrial Estate. There can be no doubt that G&J Waddell is an established local business that will grow and prosper, creating new employment, the moment it can find suitable new premises.”