Hotel giant Premier Inn this week confirmed that Galashiels is on its list of target towns.
The Southern contacted both Premier Inn and Travel Lodge when told by a well-informed source that a major hotel chain may be on the verge of announcing details of a move into Galashiels.
Premier Inn spokesman Ben Copithorne said it was correct to say the company was looking at general opportunities in the Galashiels area as part of national expansion plans, but that there was nothing specific the firm could say about speculation it might be coming to the Borders.
However, he did add: “It is a ‘target town’ for us, so, if a suitable opportunity arises, we would be interested in looking at it.”
Local councillors Bill Herd, Sandy Aitchison and Bill White were all delighted to hear of Premier Inn’s interest in Galashiels.
“I would fully support Premier Inn coming into Galashiels as there is a dearth of this type of establishment in the Borders,” said Mr Herd.
He added: “It would also be, in my opinion, fully consistent with the future economic development of the central Borders and the more of this type of investment we can attract into the Borders, the more it can help in the long term with the business case for carrying the Waverley Line to Hawick and eventually to Carlisle.”
Mr White told us: “This would be great news for the town as once one national takes an interest, usually others follow.”
And Mr Aitchison commented: “When we look at the retail area around Galashiels, it really needs something to finish it off, whilst at the same time it has to be something different.
“Premier Inn or Travel Lodge are national names for overnight accommodation and very familiar to travellers.”
Asked about possible sites for a hotel, all three councilliors agreed the former Burgh Yard was the obvious location.
“The Burgh Yard is immediately on the A7 and within luggage-trundling distance of the transport interchange,” said Mr Aitchison.
Local Chamber of Trade chairman David Houston also welcomed news that Galashiels was of interest to Premier Inn.
“Getting a major hotel is all part of the jigsaw for Galashiels,” he said.
A spokesman for Travel Lodge, the other main UK budget hotel operator, said he could guarantee “100 per cent” that the company was not interested in Galashiels.