Galashiels jobcentre move abandoned

New Reiver House, job centre in Galashiels.
New Reiver House, job centre in Galashiels.

The Department for Work and Pensions has announced a U-turn on its plans to relocate its jobcentre in Galashiels.

It will instead remain at New Reiver House for “the long term”.

Plans to move to the former Internacionale store in Douglas Bridge were rejected by Scottish Borders Council last year, but an appeal led to the Scottish Government later ruling that the move could go ahead.

However, this week a UK Government spokesman said: “Since January, we have been undertaking detailed planning to understand what this means for our customers and staff and negotiating new leases with our landlords and partners.

“We have now reassessed the suitability of the current Galashiels jobcentre site at New Reiver House and decided relocation does not provide good value for money.

“Therefore, our intention is to stay at New Reiver House long term.”

Welcoming that news, Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk MP John Lamont said: “Planning decisions are a matter for local councillors, and I’m pleased that the DWP has decided to respect their opinion.

“This news provides some welcome certainty for jobcentre users and staff.

“The DWP was sincere in its desire to create a more accessible jobcentre for Galashiels, but the facility at New Reiver House is a good one which works well.”

Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale MSP Christine Grahame added: “I welcome the news that the DWP has now dropped any plans to relocate from New Reiver House.

“The current site is easily accessible on the High Street and has parking available for those with accessibility issues. This wouldn’t have been the case on Douglas Bridge.

“The plan to site it on Douglas Bridge would have been a short-sighted attempt to fill empty units and would have hampered future regeneration efforts.

“I understand that the DWP has made this decision on the basis that a move would not be good value for money.

“In addition to this, I would add that it would have caused unnecessary disruption for service users.”