AN AUTO-CENTRE in Galashiels is a step closer to being ‘frozen out’ as a food retailer prepares to move into its premises.

Planners at Scottish Borders Council (SBC) have granted planning approval to Farmfoods to carry out external alterations to the existing Halfords Autocentre at the town’s Low Buckholmside.

The works will pave the way for the frozen food retailer’s switch from its no longer fit-for-purpose base in Bridge Street.

In his report approving the application, SBC lead planning officer Carlos Clarke says: “This application seeks consent for external works to facilitate the reuse of this shop by a new occupier.

“The proposals comprise a new shop-front glazing arrangement; external plant to the rear; and door replacements and alterations.

“Plans are also included indicating a bin store to the rear and trolley store to the front. The proposals do not increase the footprint of the existing unit.”

The site forms the furthest south of three retail units within an existing building.

A spokesperson for Galashiels-based Ferguson Planning, on behalf of Farmfoods, said: “The existing Farmfoods outlet in Galashiels sits on Bridge Street.

“It is understood that the premises has operated for more than 20 years. However, Farmfoods' business model has evolved to a format that the Bridge Street premises is not able to support due to its small size, the physical constraints upon extending the building, and lack of parking.”

In July Halfords confirmed its only Borders branch would close this month.