Scottish Borders

The Roxburghe Hotel & golf course to undergo £30m refurb after sale to German hotelier

The Roxburghe hotel and golf course, near Kelso in the Scottish Borders has been sold to Düsseldorf-based project developer and hotel operator 12.18. Investment Management GmbH, having been marketed for offers in excess of £3.25 million.

Estate agent Savills, which brokered the sale, said the new owner plans to reopen the hotel and golf course in 2019 following a £30 million refurbishment programme to operate as SCHLOSS Roxburghe.

The 19th Century property currently comprises 22 rooms, a restaurant and bar that 12.18. aims to enhance with the addition of a separate extension to feature 57 additional rooms as well as a luxurious spa and a state-of-the-art meeting space.

In addition, 60 lodges will be built on the surrounding estate and will be made available for sale to private investors through a sale-and lease-back concept that will allow the new SCHLOSS Roxburghe to extend its room inventory further to holiday-makers.

The Duke of Roxburghe said: “The plans which the new owners have for major investment in the Roxburghe are very exciting indeed. We wish 12.18. every success with the new development and the operation in future and I have no doubt that it will become one of the most outstanding resort destinations in Scotland. I would like to pay particular thanks to all the staff who have worked with great dedication to deliver exceptional standards of service to our guests over the years.”

Steven Fyfe, associate director in the hotels agency team at Savills, added: “It was important we secured a buyer who could invest in the future of the hotel and golf course while respecting and maintaining the Roxburghe’s Scottish heritage. As one of Scotland’s most charming country house hotels, the sale of the Roxburghe attracted very strong interest from buyers, both from the UK and from abroad.”

According to Savills research, investment activity in the Scottish hotels market in the first quarter of 2018 totalled £105.85 million – an increase of 90.3 per cent year-on-year and exceeding the five year average by 63.1 per cent.

Summer start for Jim Clark Room redevelopment

Works to redevelop and expand the Jim Clark Room in Duns will start this summer, Scottish Borders Council (SBC) has confirmed.

The £1.6 million project will see the existing small exhibition space redeveloped to create a modern museum to celebrate the life and achievements of Jim Clark, a double Formula One world champion.

The new museum will provide expanded exhibition space showcasing memorabilia and the trophy collection, two of Jim Clark’s race cars, new image galleries, film footage, interactive displays, technology and an education zone.

The project is being taken forward by the council in partnership with Live Borders, The Jim Clark Trust and the Jim Clark Memorial Room Trust.

Funding has come from the council, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and The Jim Clark Trust, the latter including a grant from the Fallago Environment Fund and individual donations from around the world.

The new museum will continue to be operated by Live Borders.

The existing museum facility will be open until the end of May this year, including over the weekend of 7 and 8 April, when a programme of events has been prepared to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the tragic death of the double Formula One World Champion. The museum will close on 31 May, with the new museum expected to open in late spring next year.

Councillor Euan Jardine, SBC’s executive member for culture and sport, said: “Thanks to the funding support from a range of partners this exciting project will provide a superb facility to highlight the remarkable achievements of Jim Clark to visitors from across the world and will be open in time for the tourist season next year.

“The Jim Clark Trust’s fundraising campaign attracted support from across the UK and far beyond, with donations large and small contributing towards their £300,000 total, and I’d like to thank the Trust and all their supporters for helping us make this project possible.

“The development of a high quality, modern museum in Duns to celebrate the life of Jim Clark, who is still considered amongst the greatest ever racing drivers, will bring visitors in from across the world and will be a fantastic boost to the local economy of Berwickshire and the wider Scottish Borders.”

The Jim Clark Trust, Club Lotus, Live Borders and Chirnside Common Good Association have collaborated to put together the upcoming weekend of events

Hunt on for best new Borders building

(from left) Councillor Tom Miers, Hugo Burge and Ian Aikman, Scottish Borders Council’s chief planning officer, at Marchmont House to launch the Borders Building Design Awards 2018

The search is on again for the best designed new buildings in the Borders, with the launch of the Borders Building Design Awards 2018.

The awards intend to promote good building design in the Borders and to strengthen links between builders, architects, Scottish Borders Council planners and other professionals in the industry.

Councillor Tom Miers, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for planning and environment, launched the 2018 awards at Marchmont House in Berwickshire, which scooped an award in 2016 and is hosting this year’s event.

Councillor Miers said: “The Borders Building Design Awards aim to encourage the highest quality building design across the Borders whether it is modern, innovative or traditional.

“Good building design is a priority for this Council. It enhances our surroundings and quality of life, and is essential if we want to attract new jobs and investment to the Borders.

“Our sponsors are a huge part of these awards because creating a legacy of great building design in the Borders is down to the industry itself and these companies are putting their money where their mouth is in this belief.”

Hugo Burge of Marchmont House added: “We are delighted to host these awards, celebrating excellence in creativity in the built environment, which is very much a fit for our aspirations.”

Alongside Marchmont House, property consultants Knight Frank, independent builders’ merchant MKM Building Supplies and window, door and offsite building suppliers Sidey Solutions are sponsoring the 2018 awards.

James Denne from Knight Frank’s Borders office, said: “These awards help to underline how important the quality and design of the buildings we all live and work in are to the Scottish Borders.

“Period houses and buildings, conversions and new build projects all have a part to play in developing our quality of life in this beautiful part of the country.”

The competition was last held in 2016 as part of a range of activities to celebrate the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design and the Festival of Architecture.

The winners from the 2016 event

This year, there are four separate entry categories:

  • New Build (individual buildings) residential
  • New Build (individual buildings) non-residential
  • Placemaking (new developments that contribute to creating a sense of place)
  • Work to Existing Buildings (including conversions/extensions)

All types of projects are eligible from small to large scale, urban or rural, domestic or commercial, and if appropriate, applications can be considered for more than one category or award.

Projects must be within the Scottish Borders area and have been completed, or will be completed, in the period between 1 January 2016 and 31 March 2018.

Either the owner or the designer can make applications to the awards, and there is no entry fee.

Submissions should be made no later than Friday 11 May 2018. Details and application forms are available at www.scotborders.gov.uk/designawards.

The forms are also available by writing to the Lead Officer (Built Heritage & Design), Scottish Borders Council HQ, Newtown St Boswells, TD6 0SA; phone 01835 826563 or email heritage@scotborders.gov.uk.

Local infrastructure to benefit from Scottish Borders budget plans

Drone image of the River Teviot through Hawick

Scottish Borders Council has agreed its budget for the year ahead as part of a five-year revenue plan and a ten-year capital plan.

The budget will see an investment of over £22 million in roads and bridges over three years, with £79m planned investment over the next 10 years. A total of £89m has been allocated to improve the school estate over 10 years as well as a £11.7m contribution to the £41m Hawick Flood Protection Scheme.

The budget also includes:

  • £1.2m additional funding towards teenage mental health provision
  • £4.125m over 10 years to provide grants for home adaptations to enable people to live at home for longer
  • £2.8m over four years for new and improved outdoor community spaces
  • £0.282m for a community policing team to prevent low level criminal activity and deal with issues such as parking
  • £0.5m for youth intervention work
  • £0.350m for shared access paths
  • £0.2m to improve access to youth opportunities, through travel and digital initiatives
  • £4.8m for a specialist dementia residential facility
  • £2m towards the re-opening of Reston Station
  • £0.799m to support the regeneration of Eyemouth
  • £1m to assist in delivering town centre regeneration
  • £2m for road safety works at the A72 Dirtpot Corner in 2018/19

Up to 35 full-time equivalent posts may be removed during the next year as a result of structural changes and more efficient service provision at the council. This figure is based on average salaries.

The council said it has been preparing for potential staff reductions by holding 65 vacancies and this, alongside a natural staff turnover level of 10%, will all contribute to a managed reduction of the workforce without impacting on existing staff wherever possible.

Council leader Shona Haslam said: “Every part of the Scottish Borders will benefit from the budget agreed today, from town centre regeneration to investment in our roads and specialist services to support our most vulnerable residents.

“We have committed substantial funding to deliver projects such as a specialist dementia care facility, further new and improved schools, increased community policing and youth programmes, but the measure I am most proud of is the additional £1.2m to focus on our young people.

“This will provide respite care for families and supported living opportunities, provide round the clock youth services and funds to help young people access further education opportunities. This programme is focused on intervention, prevention and innovation.

“We are also contributing towards the re-opening of Reston Station, the £41m Hawick Flood Protection Scheme and new and improved visitor attractions in Galashiels, Duns and Selkirk.

“What is good for one area of the Borders is good for all, and many of these projects will deliver wider economic benefits, from work for local contractors to increased visitor numbers. Through this budget we have also sought to protect front line services and have committed to modernising them and making them more efficient so they are sustainable in the longer term.”

Councillor George Turnbull, executive member for finance, added: “The council is facing a substantial funding gap due to resource constraints, increasing demand and demographic changes. We are investing heavily in a range of important areas, but have had to make some difficult decisions, including increasing Council Tax by three per cent.

“We are committed to further internal changes to make the council more efficient and less costly to run, whilst still maintaining high quality services. This ranges from amending the operating hours of our Community Recycling Centres to match demand to delivering more online services and further changes to working practices.”

£12m hotel and supermarket plans unveiled for Tweedbank

Developers have unveiled £12 million plans for a hotel and retail project near to the Borders Railway terminus in Tweedbank.

Edinburgh-based New Land Assets (NLA) said the development at the corner of Tweedbank Drive and the main A6091 road would include a supermarket, coffee shop and petrol station and could create up to 100 job opportunities in the area.

NLA said the creation of the Borders Gateway could help attract further investment in the area.

Duncan Hamilton, managing director of NLA, said: “Piggy-backing on the success of the reopening of the Borders Railway, we are delighted to bring forward these exciting plans at the Borders Gateway site.”

He said they would “deliver new and additional facilities” and also create “new job opportunities for local people”.

“The feedback we have already received has been really positive and there is a lot of excitement about our investment,” he said.

“We have talked to a lot of people already but we want to talk to more people and get their views.”

Developers have confirmed a BP filling station and Wild Bean M&S cafe are included in the plans, while an announcement on the discount supermarket chain is expected “shortly”.

Premier Inn and Travelodge have previously expressed an interest in finding a suitable site in the area and could well sign up to the 60-bed budget hotel proposal.

A public consultation on the plans will take place on March 14 at Tweedbank Community Centre from 2pm to 8pm.

Scottish Borders Council unveils £294m capital investment plan in draft budget

Drone image of the River Teviot showing work on the Hawick Flood Protection Scheme

More than £294 million is proposed to be spent on infrastructure throughout the Borders over the next ten years as part of a draft financial plan from the local authority.

Scottish Borders Council’s budget plans, to be considered at a meeting of the council on  February 20, include a three year investment plan of £22m to be spent on the area’s roads and bridges and a ten year school estate improvement plan of £89m.

The Administration’s budget includes:

  • £2.1m over three years for new and improved outdoor community spaces
  • £4.8m for a specialist dementia residential facility
  • Over £22m investment in roads and bridges over three years, with £79m planned investment over the next 10 years
  • £89m to improve the school estate over 10 years
  • £8.3m contribution to the £41m Hawick Flood Protection Scheme
  • £2m towards the re-opening of Reston Station
  • £0.799m to support the regeneration of Eyemouth
  • £1m to assist in delivering town centre regeneration
  • £2m for road safety works at the A72 Dirtpot Corner in 2018/19

Council leader Shona Haslam said: “We have developed a budget which builds on opportunities and improves the lives of Borderers, whatever their age. It focuses on delivering quality services, opportunities for all in a thriving economy, empowering communities and enabling people to live independently and achieve their goals.

“We are committed to investing in services to help the most vulnerable in society, both young and old, deliver improvements to our roads, build new schools and support businesses by stimulating the local economy and improving our town centres.

“This budget also protects teacher numbers and frontline council services, whilst also recognising that we must modernise service delivery and make efficiencies.

“We are proposing a three per cent increase in Council Tax, which will generate around £1.6m for next year’s budget. Council Tax makes up less than a quarter of all the funding we receive, and this increase is only the second in 10 years, during which time the funds we receive from other sources has reduced and demand for services has increased.”

Jedburgh intergenerational community campus wins government approval

Plans for a new intergenerational community campus in Jedburgh are gathering pace with a series of positive announcements.

The Scottish Government has this week given the go-ahead to Scottish Borders Council (SBC) to build the campus, and formally close the existing nursery, primary, secondary and specialist provision in the town.

The procedural decision by the government follows SBC planning committee’s approval of the planning application in January.

Both announcements mean that there are no legislatory barriers to the start of work on the Jedburgh intergenerational community campus which will replace Jedburgh Grammar, Howdenburn and Parkside primary schools, and will be located on land at Hartrigge Park.

The campus will have provision for nursery, primary and secondary school children, and community facilities will include a multi-use games area, 2G hockey pitch, 3G sports pitch, running track, external changing pavilion and rural skills area.

The project has seen SBC team up with development partner hub South East Scotland and Stallan-Brand Architects, while BAM Construction is the appointed contractor.

The funding for the new campus was confirmed by Deputy First Minister John Swinney in August 2017, as one of four projects to share £28 million from the latest phase of the Scottish Government’s £1.8 billion ‘Schools for the Future’ programme.

As a result of these approvals, site clearance work will begin, with tree specialists carefully removing a small number of trees affected by the plans over the coming weeks.

Following this, some advance groundworks will start in spring and once contracts are signed in the summer, the council will mark the official start of construction on site, with the new school being complete by March 2020.

Councillor Shona Haslam, SBC’s leader, said: “I am delighted we are making good progress towards opening a new intergenerational community campus for Jedburgh in 2020.

“The new facility will serve the whole community, from 2 to 102 year olds, with further education opportunities and community facilities for the town.

“This project has involved a huge amount of work by various stakeholders, with the vast majority of local people taking part in the extensive consultations supporting the plans.

“This is an innovative scheme to delivery nursery, primary and secondary provision simultaneously as well as significant regeneration benefits to Jedburgh.

“Health and wellbeing, employment, lifelong learning, culture, tourism and high quality collaboration space for local businesses with high quality digital connectivity are just some of the benefits this new campus will offer.”

Scott Brown, projects director for hub South East, said: “It’s great to see the plans for this new campus for Jedburgh progressing at pace and we look forward to working with Scottish Borders Council and our contractor BAM Construction to deliver a facility which supports a modern learning experience, fit for the needs of all generations.

“We’re also keen to ensure that the project delivers real community benefits during its construction and we will be offering a range of opportunities locally, so that individuals and small businesses in the Borders can benefit from the investment being made in this fantastic new development.”

Future visions unveiled for Galashiels and Tweedbank

How a new Market Square could look under the Galashiels masterplan proposals. Image courtesy of Stallan Brand

A series of ambitious ideas to transform Galashiels and Tweedbank and encourage people to come to the whole of the Borders have been unveiled.

The masterplans were presented to councillors at a full meeting of Scottish Borders Council (SBC) on January 25.

As part of the Borders Railway Blueprint programme, the plans – commissioned from independent consultants – present a variety of proposals to encourage people to live, learn, visit and work in the area, as well as attract inward investment through public and private sector funding.

Both prospectuses present different visions, with the Galashiels masterplan aiming to regenerate the town centre while the Tweedbank masterplan suggests opportunities to expand the village and reposition the current industrial estate as a new Borders Innovation Park.

In line with the Blueprint’s main themes, the Galashiels document focusses on how complementary residential, retail and business space to help regenerate the town could be delivered.

The Galashiels vision also includes regeneration-led activities, with the opening of the Great Tapestry of Scotland Visitor Centre, clearly positioned as the first phase component, set to be the catalyst for further projects, such as the local business-led plans to create a Galashiels Business Improvement District (BID).

The masterplan focusses on six town centre locations and highlights the creation of world class connectivity, a quality active travel network and investment in existing and new buildings as key requirements if Galashiels is to become an international town which is an attractive place to live, work and visit.

Amongst the ideas included in the masterplan is an opportunity to further extend Market Square into a more flexible events and activities space which could host major events and festivals, farmers markets, functions and seasonal activities, in line with many towns across Europe.

The vision also reviewed a series of potential hotel sites in the town, which would meet the demand for accommodation in the central Borders, particularly when major events take place.

A potential new Station Square for Tweedbank is in the masterplan proposals. Image courtesy of Proctor and Matthews Architects

Consultation has been held with local businesses and community, as well as arts and tourism organisations on the Galashiels masterplan. The council is also currently working with the Scottish Government and Scottish Futures Trust on the housing element of the document as a pilot project.

Councillors agreed that the Galashiels masterplan proposals will be brought forward to a future Economic Development themed Executive meeting for further discussion.

Two public consultations events have already been held for the Tweedbank masterplan, with the latter being attended by over 200 residents, while discussions have also been held with local businesses.

The Tweedbank masterplan identifies the potential for a new residential and business development on the Lowood Estate which would attract local residents and those moving into the area who wish to use the nearby Borders Railway.

The prospectus also highlights an opportunity to create a new arrival square at Tweedbank station with complementary commercial space, cafes and apartments alongside the development of the Borders Innovation Park, which already has £15 million of capital funding committed to it from the City Deal.

The opportunity for Tweedbank to become a hub for arriving visitors to go on to explore the landscape and tourist attractions of the area is another option included in the study, while a new footbridge across the River Tweed, plaza area and community hub are other ideas contained within the overall masterplan.

The vision also explores the benefits of increasing the car parking provision of Tweedbank train station to meet demands of an expanded village and Borders Innovation Park.

It is intended that the Tweedbank masterplan will inform the preparation of Supplementary Planning Guidance which will be subject to a formal consultation exercise.

Councillor Mark Rowley, SBC’s executive member for business and economic development, said: “These masterplans are two of the most exciting projects the Council has developed.

“These great prospectuses will be used to encourage more businesses, visitors, homeowners and workers to come to the area.

“Galashiels has proud historical links to the textiles industry which the masterplan recognises should play a role in the regeneration of the town, with the Great Tapestry of Scotland Visitor Centre set to be the catalyst for this transformation by creating significant economic, social and educational benefits.

“A different approach is being taken forward for Tweedbank with the aim of making it an attractive place to live and work through ambitious new residential and business plans closely connected to the railway.

“While the council cannot delivery all the proposals, the masterplans will aim to encourage the market to invest in both communities, and the Borders as a whole.”

Tom Miers, SBC’s executive member for planning and environment, added: “The Galashiels and Tweedbank masterplans provide options for the future of both communities.

“They include ideas for creating jobs, encouraging inward investment and informing the next stage of the Local Development Plan.

“The next step is for the council to draw on these and other ideas to develop formal plans for Tweedbank in close consultation with the public.”

Both reports are available at SBC’s website.

Borders bird conservation centre proposals lodged

Plans have been submitted for a conservation and breeding centre for endangered birds in the Scottish Borders.

Community interest company Birds Gardens Scotland wants to develop a 200 square metre visitor centre made from straw and lime morter at its site in Oxton, near Lauder.

The building will provide a classroom, conference facilities, a resource area, library, coffee shop, and outdoor play area.

Owen Joiner, the conservation biologist behind the organisation, said: “We’re delighted that planning permission has been granted and work can now beginning on the build. We will be using traditional techniques to construct the centre and hope that local groups and students will get involved in the process. Once open, the centre will showcase a more sustainable way of living; the café will use food grown in our kitchen garden and a reed bed water filtration system will be installed to process waste. As the entrance to the grounds, the centre will provide a place to meet, learn and play.

“It’s taken a lot of hard work to get to this point but with the help of Business Gateway Scottish Borders we have been able to establish safe and ethical working protocols. Our adviser, Wilma Norris, has been fabulous. Her guidance has been invaluable and her understanding of all aspects of business from social media strategy to IT is exemplary. She sees the person, and the organisation, and then she visualises how it should work.”

Wilma Norris, adviser at Business Gateway, added: “Bird Gardens Scotland is an exciting project that has the potential to bring real benefits to the region. Faced with a raft of complicated paperwork, Owen turned to us for guidance and used our advice to establish both his health and safety policy and policies pertaining to children and vulnerable people. He has also benefited from our knowledge of local funding packages, successfully applying for money to build pathways that now traverse the grounds.”

Council agrees plans to build intergenerational campus in Jedburgh

Scottish Borders Council has agreed to proposals to build an intergenerational learning campus in Jedburgh and formally close the existing nursery, primary, secondary and specialist provision in the town.

Stallan-Brand Architects, working alongside the council, hub South EastBAM and TGP, are set to deliver a 434 -space primary, 550 pupil secondary and a nursery to replace outdated existing facilities in the town.

A statutory consultation on the plans was undertaken between 8 May to 18 June 2017, with feedback received incorporated into a report that was approved by the council’s executive in November 2017.

The proposal will result in the permanent closure of Jedburgh Grammar as well as the nursery and primary provisions at Howdenburn and Parkside schools.

Howdenburn Schoolhouse will also be closed and the educational support for secondary aged pupils with additional support needs transferred to the new campus.

The school catchment zones for Howdenburn Primary, Parkside Primary and Jedburgh Grammar will be rezoned to the new campus. This will also be the case for the Ancrum Primary P6 and P7 pupils who currently transition to Parkside.

Councillor Carol Hamilton, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for children and young people, said: “I am delighted that we now have full agreement to these proposals and can progress with our plans to create this unique and much anticipated replacement school provision for Jedburgh with the educational opportunities that it has potential to provide for people of all ages.

“There has been extensive consultation and public engagement throughout the process as it was important to make sure that pupils, family members, staff and the wider Jedburgh community were fully engaged with the proposals. We would like thank everyone who took part for their responses and the support we have received. We now look forward to working together and making this vision a reality.”

The Scottish Government has been informed of the council’s decision and now has an eight week period of further consideration. Members of the public are also entitled to submit any further representations directly to the Scottish Government during the three week period from Thursday 21 December to Wednesday 10 January 2018.