THE future of a popular Galashiels fitness studio hangs in the balance after a decision over a planning bid was adjourned.

Scottish Borders Council received a retrospective planning application in January for the change of use of an industrial unit at Whinstone Mill on the Netherdale Industrial Estate to house the Fitness Refinery.

The outlet had been operating without planning approval for a year and fitness centre owner Dania McFarlane submitted the bid together with numerous letters of support from members and non-members, many expressing the view that the facility had been a godsend to them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One supporter wrote: “This is a new Borders business operated by someone in the local community and the council should be supporting the creation of a new business.”

Despite that public support, Carlos Clarke, the council’s lead planning officer, deemed that the application was contrary to the authority’s Local Development Plan, which highlights the need to protect and retain business and industrial sites.

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He said: “I acknowledge the letters of support and understand the implication refusal may have on the applicant. The primary obligation is to maintain an adequate supply of employment for business and industrial land.”

Members of the council’s Local Review Body met on Monday (August 15) to consider an appeal against the refusal of the application.

They heard that the applicant had submitted new information in support of her appeal, indicating that there were seven empty industrial units in the vicinity of the fitness studio.

It was decided that the appeal hearing be adjourned until Mr Clarke considered and reviewed the new information.

Jedburgh councillor Sandy Scott said: “Basically this is what the application is all about, the loss of industrial use. ”

Mr Scott was assured by committee chairman and Kelso councillor Simon Mountford that the business would be allowed to continue operating until a final decision was made.