South Scotland

Great Tapestry site decision on hold

Great Tapestry Image copyright Alex Hewitt

Councillors will get extra information on two potential sites for a permanent home for the Great Tapestry of Scotland before making a decision in November.

Two possible locations, at Tweedbank and in Galashiels, are on the table.

A report to Scottish Borders Council recommended Galashiels as the preferred option, although costs were higher.

Councillors decided they needed further details of funding and financial implications before deciding if, and where, the tapestry might be sited.

Further reports will be now presented to members.

Petition set-up

The multi-million pound project has been a controversial one in the region with thousands of people signing a petition against the scheme.

A review was also carried out into how the local authority handled its initial decision to select the Tweedbank site.

It found there were "lessons to be learned" from the process but that councillors did have sufficient information to reach their verdict.

In the meantime, a new potential site in the heart of Galashiels emerged and it has gained considerable support.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Christine Grahame said the plan could stimulate wider economic growth in Galashiels

Council leader David Parker said: "Councillors are carefully considering all the information and business case for the potential Galashiels site for the Great Tapestry of Scotland visitor centre.

"That business case identifies that the Galashiels project is £1.1m more expensive than Tweedbank at its current stage of development and the project would also need ongoing revenue subsidy.

"We all agreed that more work is required to investigate the potential funding options, with a report to come back before us in November which will enable us to make an informed decision.

"The potential of the Galashiels option is significant and could transform the town into a true visitor destination and become a catalyst for further town centre regeneration, but this would come at a price.

"The Tweedbank site remains a very strong option and would also result in a wonderful facility for the Scottish Borders which would attract significant numbers of tourists and would have a very positive impact on our local economy."

Textile town

MP Calum Kerr threw his weight behind the Galashiels location last month and said it "could be transformative for the town centre".

Community group Energise Galashiels would also like to welcome the tapestry as a "catalyst for other projects".

MSP Christine Grahame has argued that a Galashiels site would be the "most sustainable" and "stimulate wider economic growth".

She had previously voiced concerns over the business case for the Tweedbank scheme.

"Taking a leaf out of Wigtown's book as book town, perhaps this would herald marketing Galashiels as textile town," she suggested.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites