Calum Kerr, MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, has written to the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, to express his support for the permanent home for the Great Tapestry of Scotland to be sited in Galashiels town centre.
Mr Kerr’s decision to publicly back this option comes alongside announcements of support from local groups such as Energise Galashiels Trust, Galashiels Chamber of Trade, Destination Scottish Borders and Healthy High Streets.
The MP outlined his reasons for backing the Galashiels site:
“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.”
“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.”
With Scottish Borders Council holding off on their decision on where the tapestry will be sited until the end of September, Mr Kerr has called on the Scottish Government to consider the allocation of greater funds to the project in order to guarantee the Galashiels option, commenting:
“It seems clear to me which option has the most compelling economic and social benefits. So I’m committed to doing everything that I can to secure this outcome and if additional funding is required, all parties involved need to work to secure it.”
“I think that Galashiels has the potential to become a model for town centre regeneration in Scotland. The town has seen some very positive developments in recent years, such as the opening of the Borders Railway. We need to do everything we can to ensure that we embrace such a unique opportunity to build on this progress.”