South Scotland

Private meeting to decide Great Tapestry of Scotland's fate

Tapestry Bannockburn Image copyright Alex Hewitt

Councillors are to meet in private to discuss a permanent home for the Great Tapestry of Scotland in the Borders.

Tweedbank had been selected as the location for the centre but a site in Galashiels has since emerged.

Scottish Borders Council said a report on the project had to be considered behind closed doors as it contained "commercially sensitive" information.

Both sites are said to be "viable options" but Galashiels may be able to attract more funding.

The meeting of Scottish Borders Council to consider the two potential locations will be held on Thursday.

One site is opposite Tweedbank station while the other is a town centre site in Galashiels - the exact location has not yet been revealed.

Analysis: Giancarlo Rinaldi, BBC news website, south of Scotland reporter

The long-running saga of where to site the Great Tapestry of Scotland may be entering the final furlong at last.

What looked like a certain win for Tweedbank is now being battled out neck-and-neck with Galashiels.

It won't be popular with the public that the meeting to discuss the project is being held behind closed doors.

However, the council has promised a full update following their talks.

They have been tight-lipped about what the ultimate outcome might be but there seem to be some gentle hints of a change of heart.

If I were a betting man, I think I might be having a modest wager on Galashiels beating Tweedbank by a nose.

Council leader David Parker said: "We are proposing that we proceed to look in further detail at the Galashiels option as this may attract further additional funding that the Tweedbank project could not access and it would also act as a significant town centre regeneration project.

"Siting the visitor centre in Galashiels town centre would have the potential to unlock substantial benefits for the town, including transforming it into a true visitor destination, which could encourage further positive developments in the town over a number of years.

"The report before members demonstrates that both sites are viable and that the Tweedbank site has a very strong business case."

'Happy ending'

He said councillors were aware that there was "very strong support" for the Galashiels project in the town.

"I am very confident that there will be a happy ending for the tapestry project in the Borders," he said.

If councillors agree to proceed to look in further detail at the Galashiels scheme, a further report will be brought back before the council in November.

It will set out more project details, including potential phasing, and also confirm the potential funding sources for the project.

The Great Tapestry of Scotland is a joint project with the Scottish government.

It has committed up to £2.5m towards the scheme with the council contributing up to £3.5m.

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