Scottish Borders Council has approved the demolition of a shop to make way for a permanent home for the Great Tapestry of Scotland.
The removal of the former Poundstretcher store in Galashiels, as well as internal and external alterations to the nearby old Post Office, has been given the green light by councillors.
Submitted for planning earlier this year, the £6.7 million scheme would see the two buildings linked to create the Great Tapestry of Scotland visitor centre with a completion target for the project in early 2020.
The project proposes converting the Grade B listed former Post Office building, complemented by a bespoke new building designed by architects Page\Park.
The new attraction would include a permanent home for the Tapestry – a 143 metre long community arts project which involved over 1,000 volunteers stitching the entire story of Scotland – as well as temporary space for exhibitions, and flexible space for education, learning and events. In addition, the plans include space for community and retail facilities including a café.
It is estimated that the visitor centre would help employ 16 full-time equivalent (FTE) posts, attract over 50,000 extra visitors to Galashiels every year and provide additional annual spending of almost £900,000 to the local economy, supporting a further 17 FTE jobs.
The application also includes plans to introduce interpretation and art installations across the town centre, which would encourage visitors from the nearby Borders Railway to visit the Tapestry, as well as increase footfall and spend in Galashiels.