AMBITIOUS plans for an upmarket courtyard cafe and cocktail bar in Kelso’s historic Horsemarket will be back on the agenda next week.

Planning bids for change of use and internal and external alterations had been submitted to Scottish Borders Council by James Walker, the owner of Focal Point Furniture at 54-56 Horsemarket.

Walker aims to diversify the business to provide “a truly sophisticated space” and create up to ten new jobs.

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The proposal entailed alterations to and change of use of rear parts of an existing shop and workshop to create café/bar spaces arranged around an enhanced external courtyard.

But the application was refused by SBC on the grounds that the plans “are likely to raise unacceptable noise nuisance issues in a predominantly residential area and effective mitigation is not possible”.

Now, Walker is to appeal the decision at the council’s Local Review Body on Monday, June 17.

In an appeal statement Walker said: “I’m appealing this decision due to my belief that it will bring a new and exciting venue to Kelso town centre and that the open air aspect of the development will not create undue noise.

“Another reason and one that has kept my confidence in the success of the project is the overwhelming support I’ve received from members of the public of all ages, local businesses and official bodies that have gone out of their way to email, write and pop into my shop some very animated in their support.

“Kelso fortunately still has a vibrant and independent high street, and as a town continues to be a desirable place to live for all ages and an appealing place for tourists to visit, but like all high streets in these times of change we must look forward and adapt to new ideas.

“Focal Point Furniture has been trading on Horsemarket since 2010. In that time it has expanded to incorporate a very successful picture framing business complimenting its interesting and sometimes flamboyant furniture.

"I am lucky as the owner of Focal Point to witness the comments of visitors to this town not only regarding my shop but the town as a whole and it is this first hand understanding of our customer base that gives me the confidence in this project.

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“Kelso as many of the Scottish Borders towns doesn’t have the highest foot fall so it is essential to keep on top of your business, ensuring that it remains interesting and desirable to visit. This project would give an extra appeal to visit Focal Point helping to secure it’s future on the high street.”

Kelso Community Council has also raised no objections to the application.