Galashiels mill site could be set for bright future

Architect's plans for the Burns Mill site in Galashiels.
Architect's plans for the Burns Mill site in Galashiels.

One of the oldest buildings in Galashiels could be set for a new lease of life after lying empty for over 25 years.

East Lothian-based Borders Low Carbon Developments hopes to build 19 mainstream and affordable flats and workspaces at the former Burns Mill site in the town’s Roxburgh Street.

Architect's plans for the Burns Mill site in Galashiels.

Architect's plans for the Burns Mill site in Galashiels.

And if Scottish Borders Council’s planning committee backs the plans, submitted this week, work could start later this year.

The ambitious plans aim to transform the 0.27-acre site, next to the new Roxburgh Street Health Centre, under a new housing model which would include both residential and studio flats and leisure facilities.

The site has been lying empty since the workshop building was demolished in the 1980s and was last owned by the now-defunct Galashiels building firm Murray and Burrell before being sold in October 2016.

Hoping to attract young families, students, single and retired people, the Humbie-based developer says it wants to offer long-term tenancies, establish a residents’ association and promote healthier lives with fitness and leisure facilities including a heated pool.

The building itself will be all one block with glass lift and stair enclosures used to break up the facade into three blocks while the existing high brick frontage wall will be replaced by low railings.

The culverted Lint Burn will be opened up across the entire site to become a levada-like landscape feature with paved pedestrian bridges to be built across the water giving access to the flats.

Arcaded ground floor studio flats will provide small workspaces for financial and professional services, arts and crafts.

The building’s roof will be landscaped with decking, play equipment and picnic space and a secluded feature garden while, as part of a wider regeneration of Roxburgh Street, landscaped gardens will help disguise 24 bays within an off-street parking area.

David Anderson, director of the firm, said: “We will deploy our expertise and invest private capital to provide lifelong sustainable new homes of the highest quality for rent that meet the needs of local people without central or local government assistance of any kind.”

The site is zoned for re-development in the council’s 2016 local development plan, and if this application is approved, building work could begin in autumn this year and the building could be completed and occupied before the end of 2019.