In celebration of Epiphany, this weekend’s lesson comes from the Book of Town Planning, Chapter 2, Verses 1 to 11: The Arrival of the Magi…
In the time of King Charles, a few days after Christmas in Kelso, wise men came from the East, asking, “Where is the coffee shop? For we have observed that Starbucks has submitted a planning application and we have come to pay for one Flat White, a Mocca and a Latte – plus two toasties and one of those nice chocolate brownies please.”
When they heard this, the shopkeepers were frightened and many in Kelso with them; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, they enquired of the wise men where the coffee shop was to be located. They told them, “On a disused piece of ground on Station Road, to the south of the town. And to you, Kelso, in the land of the Scottish Borders, they will serve a variety of hot and cold beverages at quite hefty prices.”
Then the café owners called secretly for the wise men and learned from them the exact time that the Starbucks was intended to appear. They said, “Go and search diligently for the planning files, and when you have found them, bring us word so that we too may go and pay royally for our caffeinated drinks topped with foaming milk.”
When they had heard the café owners, the wise men set out; and there, ahead of them, was the site for the Starbucks that they had heard might be rising. They were overwhelmed with joy and promised the townsfolk gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh – but mainly they extolled the economic benefits of external investment in the town such as jobs for local people and stuff that might be more profitable than the Border Post Blog Tip (which was Two Auld Pals in Newcastle’s Novice Hurdle at 1.40 on Saturday).
And having been warned in a dream that the shopkeepers were waiting for them around the corner, near the Sainsburys roundabout, they left Kelso by another path.
And when they had departed, behold, some of the town’s residents visited the Council’s planners in a dream and said, “Look here, we’re not sure we really want a large-chain coffee shop in Kelso. I mean, we enjoy a good caramel macchiato as much as the next person, but we can always get one of those from Galashiels, and what if it impacts on the trade of the existing boutique-style independent shops and cafés? It would be a shame to harm the unique appeal of Kelso to visitors from far and near. Perhaps it’d be better to encourage investment in things like more plentiful accommodation for visitors, better transport links, and improved parking.”
And those with an opinion, whether opposed or in favour, were urged to visit the town planners’ website at https://eplanning.scotborders.gov.uk/online-applications to make their views known.