A bid for lottery funding has been submitted by a new community-interest company in Galashiels which wants to transform the town’s former post office into an indoor market.
If successful in its application to the Big Lottery Fund, Galashiels Market CIC hopes to lease the iconic listed building at the west end of Channel Street from Royal Mail and hold markets there every Friday and Saturday.
“I don’t want to tempt fate by saying how much we’ve applied for, but it will allow the premises to be redecorated and for a new electrical supply and fittings to be installed,” said Abby Keay, a director of the company which has now been incorporated at Companies House.
She claimed interest from local businesses had been “staggering”.
“I think most people in the town feel deeply saddened and concerned that this part of Galashiels, which used to be thriving, is now suffering from lack of footfall and would like to see this trend reversed,” said Mrs Keay, 26.
“So far we have been contacted by around 60 businesses who say they are interested in coming on board and we’ve also had offers of support to help build the stalls.
“Only one outlet based in Channel Street has expressed concern, but we have given an assurance the market will complement existing businesses by increasing footfall and not compete with them.
“It seems to have captured the public imagination, especially with the railway due to open in September.
“We had hoped to be up and running by then, but we must now wait for the funding and we are expecting a decision from the Big Lottery within the next few weeks.”
Apart from Mrs Keay, the other directors of the new company are her husband Alistair, Susan Thomson, who runs a newsagents in Bank Street, and Tracey Alder, secretary of Galashiels Community Council.