Oxton shop gets ‘open all hours’ approval

A vital community shop in a Borders village which provided a lifeline during the pandemic has been given the green light to keep on trading.

By Paul Kelly
Saturday, 2nd July 2022, 9:05 am
Oxton's community shop.
Oxton's community shop.

Just before Covid restrictions were brought in back in 2020 a long-sought transformation and extension of Oxton Memorial Hall was finally approved.

The work on the hall, built in 1924 to honour the village’s war dead, included its conversion into a community hub with new toilets, kitchen facilities and meeting space.

The extension into an adjoining field meant that Oxton Community Shop, housed in a portable cabin next door, could relocate into the community hall, more than doubling its size.

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However, because of the fallout from the pandemic work on the hall’s refurbishment stalled.

Now a planning bid to Scottish Borders Council to extend the lifespan of the vital portakabin for another four years has been rubber-stamped.

In a statement submitted with the planning bid, Francois du Plessis, on behalf of Oxton and Channelkirk Community Council, says: “The community shop has proved to be invaluable to the community, especially so during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“During a recent survey for the Community Action Plan, the shop was voted the most valuable asset in the village.

“Plans have now been approved to relocate the shop into the Memorial Hall. An extension of planning permission and change of use is required until the hall refurbishment is completed. The timescale for this is currently unknown.”

A council report agreeing the application says: “The application seeks to extend planning permission for the portacabin for a further four years to allow time for the extension of the village hall to be completed.

“This is considered a reasonable request given the importance of the facility to the village.”