Trial scheme aims to revive Hawick and Galashiels town centres
A year-long pilot project to fill empty shops and bring shoppers back to the two biggest towns in the Borders has been approved.
Restrictions will be relaxed on what businesses can be run in "core activity areas" in Hawick and Galashiels.
Scottish Borders Council said the move would make it easier for companies to invest in the area.
It said it needed to "move with the times" and recognise the need for a "broader mix" of shops in towns.
Tom Miers, executive member for planning and environment, said: "This pilot scheme will test new policies to help that process while preserving the essential character and vibrancy of our towns.
"Towns like Hawick, with its magnificent High Street, have enormous potential, and this council is determined to unlock that and encourage new business, new life and new dynamism amidst the superb built heritage that we already enjoy."
Mark Rowley, executive member for business and economic development, said they hoped that lifting restrictions could bring in a range of businesses and make the towns more attractive to residents and visitors.
"The initiative should support a number of exciting projects going ahead in both towns," he said.
"In Hawick, we have the action plan which is starting to revitalise its economy and drive further inward investment and tourism.
"In Galashiels, the Great Tapestry of Scotland complex is kick-starting the delivery of the Galashiels masterplan - our ambitious vision to encourage investment in the town and the Borders economy from both the public and private sector - with investors already exploring exciting projects."