Mill flats plan backed

Bristol Mill, Galashiels. Proposed conversion into student flats.
Bristol Mill, Galashiels. Proposed conversion into student flats.

PLANS to convert an empty Galashiels mill – branded as horrible – into student accommodation have been welcomed by Galashiels Community Council, despite concerns over a lack of parking spaces, writes Kenny Paterson.

Haddington-based Ewan Brown has submitted a planning bid to turn the former Bristol Mill beside the A7 Edinburgh road into a 108-bed complex for students at Borders College and Heriot-Watt University.

Community councillors support the plan to bring the former spinning mill, which shut in 1998, back into use.

But they promised to keep an eye on the application as it processed, with worries based on the plan including only 25 parking spaces.

Community councillor Ian Purvis said: “It [Bristol Mill] is currently a horrible introduction to the town. Obviously it is at an early stage but if it goes ahead it would bring economic benefits for that end of Gala.”

Chairman Bill White added: “They will need to look at the parking – we do not want cars parked up and down the [A7] road. I would like to see something done about it but done correctly.”

With 54 spaces for bicycles in the proposal, Councillor Sandy Aitchison argued that the Black Path should be completed to allow students to cycle to the Netherdale campus at the other end of town, if the plan is approved. He added: “I see Bristol Mill once or twice a day and it is horrible.”

The mill was founded in 1885 by Roberts, Dobson & Co and had a host of owners before shutting 13 years ago. The B-listed building was included on the Buildings At Risk list in 2009, which described it as among the best surviving mills in Galashiels.