South Scotland

Great Tapestry of Scotland handling 'lessons to be learned'

Tapestry Bannockburn Image copyright Alex Hewitt

A review of the decision-making process on a permanent home for the Great Tapestry of Scotland has found there were "lessons to be learned".

However, it concluded councillors in the Borders did have sufficient information to reach their verdict.

The review was launched in light of concerns about how the decision to site it at Tweedbank was reached.

Since then an alternative location in Galashiels emerged and is now also being considered.

The decision to build a permanent home for the tapestry at the Borders Railway's Tweedbank terminus has been a contentious one in the region.

Thousands of people signed a petition against the project and a working group was set up to examine how the process of planning approval being granted was handled.

Recommendations listed

Opponents have expressed concerns at the cost of the project - the council has committed £3.5m - and the choice of location.

Now a review of how the initial decision to house it at Tweedbank was reached has been published.

It has found that the information provided was sufficient for councillors to make a decision "based on what was available at the time".

Nonetheless, it made a string of recommendations to improve project work and communications in future.

They included:

  • all "material conversations" between officers and councillors while developing major projects should be "summarised and noted" to aid transparency
  • first formal reports should contain information on all options considered even if they were subsequently dismissed
  • analysis and research should be included in reports or, if confidential, circulated privately to members
  • regular informal briefings on any major projects
  • when considering locations the criteria being used to assess them should be put in order of priority

"It is clear that the Great Tapestry of Scotland is a unique project which has attracted much comment," concluded the review.

"Having reviewed all the information requested and put to them, members of the working group have concluded that the details provided to members in reports - based on the information that was available at the time - was sufficient to allow members to make their decisions on the Great Tapestry of Scotland.

"As always, with hindsight, it is possible to identify areas which could have enhanced the information in the reports and these are included in the recommendations."

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