Consultant scores hat-trick of contracts for tapestry project

How the planned Great Tapestry of Scotland visitor centre in Galashiels will look.
How the planned Great Tapestry of Scotland visitor centre in Galashiels will look.

A consultancy firm has secured a second contract for the building of the forthcoming permanent home for the Great Tapestry of Scotland in Galashiels, taking its stake in the £6.7m initiative to almost £1.14m.

Edinburgh company Turner and Townsend has been given a £593,000 contract by Scottish Borders Council for taking a project management role during the building of the centre, starting next year in High Street and next-door Channel Street.

Smailholm's stitching group with one of the 12 tapestry panels created in the Borders.

Smailholm's stitching group with one of the 12 tapestry panels created in the Borders.

No other bidders put in tenders, giving the Osborne Terrace firm a clear run to more than double its stake in the controversial scheme.

That latest contract follows an earlier one for £547,00 it was handed for designing the new building to go on the site of the town’s former Poundstretcher store to adjoin the old post office next door.

On top of that, it has also won a £160,000 contract to create a Galashiels town centre masterplan centred on the forthcoming tourist attraction, though that one doesn’t form part of the £6.7m bill for the new home for the tapestry.

The company’s latest contract is for putting together a full design team including a project manager, architect, civil and structural engineer, mechanical and electrical engineer and cost manager.

A council spokesperson said: “The creation of a new home for the Great Tapestry of Scotland is the first step towards regenerating Galashiels.

“The council uses a range of consultants depending on the specific needs of an individual project, and the appointment of external consultants to assist in the delivery of capital projects is a standard industry practice, whether in the private or public sectors.

“Project management firm Turner and Townsend were appointed through a nationally-procured framework to oversee construction of the facility and bring contemporary knowledge of delivering quality museum attractions in Scotland, such as the V&A Museum of Design in Dundee which is to open next year.”

Demolition of the old Poundstretcher building is timetabled to get under way in spring, clearing the way for a contract for the construction of the building to be awarded in the autumn.

The new home for the 469ft artwork, designed by Andrew Crummy and stitched by more than 1,000 volunteers between spring 2012 and autumn 2013, is due to open to the public in April 2020.

A dozen of the 160 embroidered panels it is made up of were stitched in the Borders – at Tweedbank, Galashiels, Stow, Lauder, Hawick, St Boswells, Jedburgh, Melrose, Kelso, Coldstream, Tweedmouth, Ednam, Gordon, Duns, Smailholm, Gordon, Peebles, Selkirk and West Linton.