South Scotland

Galashiels selected as preferred Great Tapestry of Scotland site

Great Tapestry Image copyright Alex Hewitt

Galashiels has been recommended as the site for a permanent home for the Great Tapestry of Scotland in the Borders.

Councillors are being advised to chose it over Tweedbank when they meet later this month.

The Galashiels proposal would see the town's post office brought back into use, a former Poundstretcher demolished and a new building erected.

The council has been told that could deliver "a successful tourism and regeneration proposition".

The final decision will be taken on 22 December but advice from the due diligence process has come down in favour of Galashiels.

"The Galashiels proposal provides the opportunity for additional education and community use that is not a feature of the Tweedbank proposal," it concluded.

"Furthermore, the Galashiels site benefits from a significant degree of community support and is consistent with the Scottish government's Town Centre First Principle in relation to place-making and regeneration."

Image copyright Google
Image caption The plans have been called "game-changing" for regeneration in Galashiels

The Scottish government has also confirmed that its £2.5m funding pledge - previously for Tweedbank - would be available for the Galashiels project.

Council leader David Parker said: "The Great Tapestry of Scotland is of national and international importance and siting it in the Scottish Borders will create a world-class tourist attraction.

"The Galashiels proposal now being recommended was not available for consideration when the tapestry project commenced, but earlier this year, due to the former Poundstretcher site becoming vacant and positive discussions with Royal Mail, an affordable and deliverable site in Galashiels has been identified.

"The site in Galashiels will benefit from enhanced support from a range of funders and the site provides greater accommodation with more flexibility for the tapestry and other exhibits and facilities."

Image copyright Alex Hewitt

He said the town centre site would have a "significant regeneration impact on Galashiels" and bring "many benefits to nearby local businesses".

Mike Gray, chairman of community group Energise Galashiels, said: "Galashiels as the home of the Great Tapestry of Scotland would be a game-changing boost to the town.

"This investment, if councillors decide to approve, will provide a wonderful and unique attraction and will regenerate the 'old town centre' which is suffering from the impact of the massive changes in retailing."

Co-chairman of the tapestry trustees, Alistair Moffat, said he had never seen anything like the reaction of the faces of people who saw the work.

"Much more than a beautifully embroidered object, the power of this great work of art is immense, emotional, funny and quintessentially Scottish," he said.

"People weep and laugh as they make their way around the story of our nation - and the story of themselves.

"It would be wonderful if the great tapestry could tell the great sweep of the history of Scotland in Galashiels."

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