Gala chairwoman’s anger over hotel plan

The proposed development includes a hotel, service station, supermarket and drive-through coffee shop.
The proposed development includes a hotel, service station, supermarket and drive-through coffee shop.

Moves to build a new hotel as part of a Tweedbank development project have angered several members of Galashiels Community Council.

At the last meeting on Wednesday, March 7, Duncan Hamilton, managing director of developer New Land Assets, took the community councillors through the plans for the development, which is intended to include a hotel run by an as-yet unnamed national chain, a petrol filling station including a sandwich-type kiosk run by Marks and Spencer, a supermarket and a drive-though coffee shop.

However, there were several dissenting voices over what was being proposed at the site, which is located next to the Melrose roundabout, a couple of hundred yards from the Borders Railway terminus.

Chairwoman Judith Cleghorn said: “I am very disappointed that this is being planned for Tweedbank, when we were assured by council convener David Parker some time ago that the next hotel to be built in the Borders would be built in Galashiels.”

Mr Hamilton replied: “Actually, I believe a hotel in Tweedbank will be a good thing for those who want a hotel to come to Galashiels. If we can get one of the hotel chains to come, and it performs well, it will be a green light for others to follow.”

Mr Hamilton said that hotels were historically wary of coming to the area because of slow winter months, but he believed that this one, so close to the Borders General Hospital, would be busy due to people coming to visit loved ones.

Secretary Tracey Alder said: “I don’t think we can wait that long. We need a hotel now, with the tapestry coming.

Community councillor Drew Tulley said it was the positioning of the hotel in an industrial estate that worried him.

Mr Hamilton said: “You will find this happening in other areas as it gives companies a place to meet clients.”

Community councillor Bill White was more concerned about the petrol station, saying: “If you put another filling station there, I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the Galashiels ones had to close.”

Other concerns raised included the loss of trees to build the complex and the possibility that fewer people would come to Galashiels to shop.

Mr Hamilton was in Tweedbank’s community centre yesterday to host a public consultation and exhibition.