Rebirth for key part of Galashiels town centre

Plan for former Channel Street store site v.1

By Paul Kelly
Monday, 11th July 2022, 5:25 pm
Updated Monday, 11th July 2022, 5:25 pm
The former Home Bargains store in Galashiels' Channel Street.
The former Home Bargains store in Galashiels' Channel Street.

A key part of Galashiels town centre could be about to enjoy a rebirth after the closure of a major retail outlet five years ago.

Proposals for a mix of retail and food and drink outlets and business units at the former Home Bargains store in Channel Street have been submitted to Scottish Borders Council.

The store at 25 Channel Street closed in 2018 when the company relocated to larger premises in Stirling Street, opposite the transport interchange.

The former store is vacant and takes up a prominent space in the shopping thoroughfare.

Now a planning bid has been submitted by Newcastle-based Mors Vincit Omnia Limited to sub-divide the building for various retail and other uses, although no specific trading outlets are as yet identified.

The proposal for the ground floor is for three retail units fronting Channel Street with associated staff and toilet areas, together with three workshop units, for small business use, to be accessed from Park Street.

On the first floor, the proposed works comprise of five storage units and smaller rooms to the front of the building retained as existing.

The work would incorporate external alterations, reinstating and adding external doors and windows and replacing shop front windows with endurance doors.

The applicant believes the proposal would add to the “vitality and viability” of the town centre.

A planning report submitted with the application, from Galashiels-based Aitken Turnbull Architects, says: “The principle of the development is supported by Local Development Policy with proposals adding to the vitality and viability of the town centre.

“Retail/food and drink uses will be maintained on the Channel Street frontage with workshop space and storage providing a compatible mix of uses in the remainder of the building.

“Sustainability and design requirements are supported with the proposal making best use of an existing town centre building in an accessible location.

“The proposed mix of uses will increase town centre activity and support new job creation and the local economy.”