Close shave for Prestonpans barber in security shutters wrangle with planners

An order to make a barber shop owner take down security shutters installed on advice of police has been overturned on appeal.

Friday, 12th March 2021, 12:30 pm
Shutters wrangle: Eskquire Barbers in Prestonpans
Shutters wrangle: Eskquire Barbers in Prestonpans

Alan Mulholland spent more than £5,000 putting in the shutter at the Prestonpans branch of his Eskquire barber shops after they were targeted by vandals last year.

But when he applied for retrospective planning permission for security changes, including CCTV cameras and lighting, officers included a condition ordering him to remove the shutters because his shop was in a Category C listed building.

The decision was branded a “travesty” by Prestonpans Community Council, which backed Mr Mulholland.

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And at a meeting of East Lothian Council’s Local Review Body this week, members overturned the condition, backing his appeal.

Local ward councillor Neil Gilbert told the virtual meeting of the body: “There was police advice that shutters would be a good option, it is an area unfortunately where vandalism occurs.”

And fellow councillor Jeremy Findlay described the appeal as an “open and shut case” as he backed Mr Mulholland.

Councillor Norman Hampshire, chairing the meeting, also lent his support to the appeal.

He said: “I think in this location and on this occasion, we can allow the shutters to remain.”

Mr Mulholland still has an appeal against planners’ decision to add the same condition to listed building consent for the shutters lodged with Scottish Ministers.

In a letter to the Scottish Government Reporter, overseeing that appeal, Brian Weddell, Prestonpans Community Council chairman, said that the group collectively supported the appeal.

He said: “Given the business suffered damage due to vandalism and the advice of Police Scotland, Mr Mulholland has installed shutters that meet the criteria outlined by East Lothian Council and it is a travesty that this was rejected by the local authority’s planners.”

Mr Mulholland, who also has a shop in Musselburgh, said that both sites were damaged by vandalism in January last year in what police confirmed was a “targeted attack”.

At the time, he was advised by a Prestonpans community police officer to install the full-length shutter, which is similar to ones used by other business premises in Prestonpans.

East Lothian Council planners suggested that an alternative grid or mesh which could be removed each day would be preferable.

The appeal to Scottish Ministers is ongoing.

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