Revised plan for Gala’s £5.2m transport interchange up for approval

Galashiels Transport Interchange between Ladhope Vale and Stirling Street.

Galashiels Transport Interchange between Ladhope Vale and Stirling Street.

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Elected members of Scottish Borders Council will be asked to approve a revised business and operating plan for the Galashiels Transport Interchange when they meet next Thursday.

Up to now, details of who will occupy the giant three-storey building, which cost £5.2 million to construct and is due for completion in the next few weeks, have been deemed “commercially sensitive” and have remained confidential.

And a spokesman for SBC, which has invested £3.4m in the facility across a busy road from the railway station, confirmed that next week’s discussion will take place in private.

A clue to the issues surrounding the building’s viability was given in a public report – subsequently withdrawn – which was due to go before the council on April 2.

The report, from project manager Euan Doyle, asked councillors to approve a subsidy of 93p for every single outgoing bus journey from the interchange.

That, he said, would allow the charge levied on bus operators for each departure to be pegged at £1.75 – five times higher that the 35p per journey fee imposed at the town’s former bus station in Stirling Street.

The council was also asked to consider an annual service charge of £60 per square metre for tenants of the building which will be run and staffed around the clock by the council.

A spokesperson for the region’s largest bus operator First said last month: “We’re aware of ongoing discussions regarding departure charges and await the outcome with interest.”