Herb garden wait goes on

The Secret Herb Garden on Pentland Road near Ikea.
The Secret Herb Garden on Pentland Road near Ikea.

Retrospective permission to hold weddings at the Secret Herb Garden has still to be granted, with councillors giving more time for the applicant to reach a compromise with angry locals.

The Lothianburn herb nursery has been holding weddings since June this year and has more planned, despite not yet acquiring permission to do so.

At the recent Midlothian Council Planning Committee meeting, councillors considered the partial change of use for wedding ceremonies and receptions for up to 100 guests, with live and amplified music. Officers recommended they reject the application, which has received 16 representations, seven against and nine for the proposals.

Cllr Kenneth Baird (SNP) said: “These are issues that are quite easy to rectify. I think they could appease most of the objections if not all.”

Midlothian Council leader Derek Milligan (Lab) suggested officers arrange for the applicant and objectors to meet to discuss the 17 conditions added to permission if granted. These include weddings only taking place from 4pm - midnight between April 1 and September 30, with the number of weddings limited to 20, a lockable gate be installed at the pathway to the north of the site, improved sound insulation in the barn, and a sound limiter, noise monitor and self closing door be installed in the barn.

Cllr Milligan added: “We need to give local residents the chance to reply. I think it’s critical that we allow them to comment on what we are suggesting.”

Cllr Kelly Parry (SNP)agreed with Cllr Milligan calling it “the way forward”.

Cllr Pauline Winchester (Con) also backed the proposal, adding “we get the residents and applicant to talk about the conditions, if not we grant or refuse permission today.”

The committee agreed to give more time and will return to the matter at its next meeting on October 3.