South Scotland

MP Calum Kerr backs Galashiels' Great Tapestry of Scotland claim

Tapestry Bannockburn Image copyright Alex Hewitt

Borders MP Calum Kerr has given his backing to Galashiels as the best place for a permanent home for the Great Tapestry of Scotland.

It comes after community group Energise Galashiels claimed the move would have "significant advantages".

Scottish Borders Council had initially selected the Tweedbank terminus of the Borders Railway but an alternative site in Galashiels has since emerged.

Mr Kerr, an SNP MP, said the newer option could have a greater impact.

"It's clear that the presence of such a remarkable attraction in the heart of Galashiels could be transformative for the town centre, which is still struggling to recover from long term economic challenges in the retail sector," he said.

"Although the greenfield site at Tweedbank may appear to be the more straight-forward option, I don't think it offers comparable economic benefits.

"On the other hand, a site in the heart of Galashiels could kick off a new phase of town centre regeneration."

Image copyright Other
Image caption Mr Kerr has thrown his weight behind Galashiels over Tweedbank for the project

The MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk has written to Scotland's Culture Secretary, Fiona Hyslop, to express his support for the move.

Energise Galashiels said it could provide a "major boost" for the town but also offer "greater benefits" to the region as a whole.

It said the potential visitor market on both sites was exactly the same.

The group said Galashiels had a wide choice of retail offerings and was the "prime hub" for transport in the region.

It added that putting the tapestry in the town would help its overall commercial viability.

"In the absence of a major intervention, it is doubtful that 'retail trading' will ever resolve the current level of vacancies," it said.

"Having the Great Tapestry of Scotland's home in Galashiels town centre will be an investment which will provide a massive boost to the existing efforts being made to regenerate the 'old town centre'."

'Good progress'

The organisation said there were already a number of other projects ongoing in the town which could also boost visitor numbers to the tapestry.

"Energise Galashiels believe that securing the Great Tapestry of Scotland in a town centre location will act as a catalyst for other projects and initiatives which offer the opportunity of transforming Galashiels and regenerating an area that is key to the overall prosperity of the town," it added.

Scottish Borders Council is currently assessing the Galashiels option ahead of deciding whether to proceed with Tweedbank or change the location.

A spokesman said: "The Great Tapestry of Scotland project will now be considered by councillors on Thursday 29 September.

"This is to allow time for all elected members to be fully consulted before they make a decision on the future of this important project.

"Work will continue over the coming weeks, with very good progress having been made on both options for the Great Tapestry of Scotland."

More on this story

Related Internet links

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