Asian street food van granted licence to trade beside Tweedbank loch

An Asian street food van has been granted a licence to trade from a car park alongside Gunknowe Loch in Tweedbank despite opposition from a nearby restaurant.

Kowloon Kitchen, run by Chia Lok Lee and his partner Zhu, had applied for an extension to its current street trader’s licence to enable it to operate beside the loch twice a week.

However, the owners of the nearby Herges on the Loch restaurant had voiced objections to the application on the grounds that it might take business away from them by reducing the number of parking spaces available for customers.

Owners Karen and Sandy Craig wrote to Scottish Borders Council officers saying: “Our grounds of objection relate to the close proximity to our business. We are enclosing a plan of our boundary and wish to stress that the car park in question is not 100m from our boundary.

“Our planning permission was granted on the grounds that this car park would be used as part-requirement for car-parking spaces on our planning application.

“To comply with the regulations, this trailer has to be attached to the towing vehicle, and that takes up five parking spaces alone.

“On a personal note, we think that this detracts from the lovely scenery and tourist attraction that Gunknowe Loch is. Perhaps there are other sites in Tweedbank which may be suitable.”

However, the council’s civic government licensing committee was not swayed by their arguments and voted to grant the Lees their licence, subject to planning permission.

The new licence will allow Kowloon Kitchen to operate from the Tweedbank Drive car park on Thursdays and Fridays, Netherdale Industrial Estate in Galashiels on Mondays and Saturdays and Stow on Sundays.

As the van will be stationary for over four hours at each location, the business will still need approval from the council’s planning department before it can proceed.

Speaking after yesterday’s committee meeting, Hawick and Hermitage councillor George Turnbull said: “It was felt by the committee that because it was offering a different type of food it wasn’t really competing with Herges.

“There’s still a procedure to get through with planning because there may be future retail units nearby.

“Our legal advice was that although the 100-metre rule exists, it has been successfully challenged in Scotland.

“There were a number of options for where the van could be situated in the car park, and we chose the one which provided the most shielding from the view at Herges.

“Hopefully, we’ve found a compromise in a suitable area.”

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