A GALASHIELS arts and craft shop owner who expanded his business to incorporate a café without seeking prior planning approval is appealing for Scottish Borders Council’s “understanding and consideration” after submitting a retrospective bid.

The local authority has received a change of use planning application from Fabiano Furlan, owner of Creative Borders at 44 High Street, to incorporate the Reborn Cafe within the existing retail unit.

The application has been submitted to “safeguard the future of our business”.

A submission with the application says: “Our proposal aims to retrospectively change the use of our commercial property with no building alterations.

“We seek planning permission to ensure compliance with local regulations and safeguard the future of our business.

“Additionally, we propose a colour change of our shop front to light ochre, enhancing the area’s character and contributing to the local economy.

“We appreciate your support.

“We understand the challenges posed by COVID and as a new business, we had to be flexible.

“Unfortunately, we were not aware of the requirement to apply for planning permission before expanding our art and craft retail business to include a cafe.

“We would appreciate your understanding and consideration in processing our application retroactively.

“The property is currently classified as class 1 retail and is being used primarily for retail purposes, with some space being used as a cafe.

“The proposed change is to incorporate class 3 (food and drink) into the existing class 1, which would more accurately reflect the current use of the property.

“This would allow for greater flexibility in terms of what can be offered on the premises and could potentially increase revenue streams for the business and potentially unlock more employment.”