South Scotland

Great Tapestry of Scotland's Tweedbank business case examined

Tapestry Bannockburn Image copyright Alex Hewitt

The Scottish government has been asked to look at the business case for building a permanent home for the Great Tapestry of Scotland in the Borders.

Scottish Borders Council has agreed to put £3.5m towards the scheme at the Borders Railway's Tweedbank terminus.

MSP Christine Grahame has asked Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop to look at the project's viability.

It has been estimated that about 50,000 visitors a year would come to the facility which would create 17 jobs.

There has been significant local opposition to the proposals but a petition to reverse the decision to fund the project failed last year.

A council investigation into the decision-making process is already under way.

Ms Grahame has now taken her concerns to the Scottish government.

'Potentially risky'

"In my opinion the business case for this project is certainly flawed, which is the main issue for me," she said.

"To plough £220,000 a year of council tax payers money into paying for the building for the next 30 years at a time when belts need to be tightened seems ridiculous and potentially risky.

"I contacted the Cabinet secretary some time ago and due to my concerns her officials are now inspecting the business case."

She said that given the financial constraints now facing councils it was vital that projects like the tapestry building were subject to "really detailed analysis" before money was committed.

"If my concerns regarding the business case are justified then the multi-million pound scheme must be shelved or at least delayed until there is an improvement in the public finances," she said.

Last year Scottish Borders Council leader David Parker said local opposition to the project had been considered "very carefully".

He said the authority had decided the scheme should proceed because the majority of councillors believed the evidence supporting the development was "sound".

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