A BARBER has won his fight to keep a security shutter installed on the advice of police after an appeal to Scottish Ministers.

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, East Lothian Council granted it but included a condition ordering him to remove the shutter because his shop was in a Category C listed building.

The decision was branded a “travesty” by Prestonpans Community Council, which backed Mr Mulholland, and overturned by the council’s Local Review Body in March.

However, Mr Mulholland also had to appeal the same condition on Listed Building Consent granted by the council to Scottish Ministers.

And this week, the Scottish Government Reporter backed Mr Mulholland’s appeal, ruling the shutter could stay on the Category C Listed building.

The reporter rejected a claim by the local authority that a letter from Police Scotland and email confirming attacks on the barber shop were not ‘material’ in deciding the appeal.

After visiting the street herself, the Reporter said: “I find that the shutter on the appeal premises would not be an incongruous element in the streetscape in this part of Prestonpans, given the number of existing similar shutters on retail and commercial premises.

“I also find that the shutter would be in keeping with other parts of the building, as it is an expected element on a shop frontage in this location.”

The Reporter said that Mr Mulholland had demonstrated there was a security problem in the area where the shop was based and pointed out that the council’s own guidance on Listed Building Consent allowed for such a situation.

She said that the guidance “makes provision for security measures in premises in listed buildings, that can demonstrate a particular security problem”.

In a letter to the Reporter overseeing that appeal ,Brian Weddell, Prestonpans Community Council chairman, said that the group collectively supported Mr Mulholland’s 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 had been damaged by vandalism 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 would be more suitable.

However, the Reporter disagreed, concluding: "I am satisfied that the proposed external alterations to the listed building in the form of a roller shutter would not have a negative impact on the preservation of the listed building or its setting or any features of special architectural or historic interest which it possesses.”