Coldstream couple make third bid to build soft play centre

Jon and Anna Standing want to turn their building on Hillview industrial estate into a soft play centre.
Jon and Anna Standing want to turn their building on Hillview industrial estate into a soft play centre.

A couple from Coldstream are hoping for third time lucky after submitting another planning application to open a soft play centre in the town.

Jon and Anna Standing’s initial bid to convert an empty industrial building into a soft play centre was rejected by Scottish Borders Council a year ago.

Laughing Ducks soft play

Laughing Ducks soft play

Their subsequent appeal was dismissed too.

But they have bought the building at Hillview Industrial Estate since then and have added other amendments to their latest application.

The new plan includes a proposal to purchase of the council-owned driveway, which they hope would address previous doubts about safe access.

The Standings are confident their latest application deals with areas of concern raised by planning officers 12 months ago. Their submission also includes a petition of support from Coldstream families.

Anna Standing told The Berwickshire News: “We’ve bought the building and we’re proposing to buy a two metre driveway strip from the council depot.

“We’re also focussing on economic development ambitions for the Borders. We have support from the Small Business Association, saying Coldstream is under threat because of business shutting down. We’re focussing on the fact that this will provide jobs.

“Our plan also includes a sensory room. The Borders doesn’t have a sensory room open to the public – only the one at hospital and the one at school. We’re hoping to get that out there too.”

Mr and Mrs Standing, who live in the town, established Laughing Ducks Soft Play Ltd 18 months ago before taking on a 12-month lease of the building. It had been unoccupied for more than three years.

However, the trading estate where it is located is covered by a policy which states that it must retained for industrial employment use.

The Standings believe their new application deals with that problem and other concerns previously about access and safety.

They emphasise that their business plan would create a number of full and part-time jobs in the town.

As owners of the building, they also warn in their latest planning application that another refusal would mean “the building is likely to remain derelict for the foreseeable future without a viable business plan to finance the required investment.”

The soft play project has attracted political support as well as support from local parents and carers. A petition of support gathered at Coldstream Primary School gathered around 200 signatures.