Galashiels gateway mural created without planning permission

The completed mural on Douglas Bridge
The completed mural on Douglas Bridge

A new artwork designed to welcome train travellers to Galashiels was unveiled without planning permission, its creators have admitted.

A retrospective planning application was submitted to Scottish Borders Council this week, over two weeks after the artwork was officially unveiled.

The Douglas Bridge mural, depicting the Flying Scotsman’s return to the Borders, was unveiled by Lord David Steel on Saturday, October 1, during the inaugural Creative Coathanger festival.

The application states that the reason behind the mural being intalled ahead of applying for permission was due to “a delay in obtaining information and a revision to opening date to coincide with a creative event held within the town”.

Edinburgh artist Chris Rutterford was commissioned by Energise Galashiels to create the artwork, and he told us: “We didn’t want to start the project until we knew it was all going to be OK.

“From the outset, we had the verbal OK, so I think this is a box-ticking exercise, so hopefully Energise Galashiels and the council’s aims are the same.

“It is all real people that are in the mural, so they are just as emotionally invested in the project as me.

“They are a part of the town’s future, and I like to think that something like this won’t become an issue.”

Mr Rutterford hopes to extend the mural next spring, if consent is granted, adding a further 150 faces.

The retrospective application was submitted by Galashiels-based Cameron Facilities.