MSP given green light to move office into a retail property in Galashiels

A Borders MSP has been given the green light to set up her Parliamentary office at a florists shop in Galashiels.

Monday, 1st November 2021, 12:01 pm
Updated Monday, 1st November 2021, 12:02 pm
The Enchanted Florist.

Florist Emily Hodgson is giving up the lease of the Enchanted Florist at 6 High Street and moving her business to a former garage site in Ettrick Terrace in Selkirk.

Because of its prominent location there has been much interest in taking over the outlet, and Christine Grahame, MSP for Midlothian, Tweeddale and Lauderdale submitted a planning application to change its use to her Parliamentary office.

Now Scottish Borders Council lead planning officer Carlos Clarke has rubber-stamped the application, while accepting that a retail use for the property would have been “preferred”.

He adds in his report: “An office use would contribute to the mixed use nature of the town, and not adversely affect its character.

"I recognise that the unit occupies a prominent location near to the new Tapestry centre and is of value cumulatively with other Class 1 uses in adding to the vibrancy and vitality of the town centre as a retail destination. I note too that it has neither been vacant nor marketed for a substantial period that would allow any significant weight to be applied to those factors.

"However, a Class 2 use would positively contribute to footfall (though not to the same extent as a retail use) and units outside the Core Activity Area are not safeguarded for retail regardless of how close they are to the Tapestry. The unit is also relatively small so effects on the town centre's viability and vitality either way will be modest.”