£6.7m Galashiels tapestry centre still set to open next spring despite lockdoown forcing builders to down tools

Hopes remain high that the £6.7m Great Tapestry of Scotland tourist attraction in Galashiels will be ready to open in spring next year despite work being halted by the current coronavirus lockdown.

Thursday, 23rd April 2020, 5:39 am
An aerial view of the Great Tapestry of Scotland visitor centre being built in Galashiels.
An aerial view of the Great Tapestry of Scotland visitor centre being built in Galashiels.

Work on the controversial centre, in Channel Street and next-door High Street, is due for completion this September, but that date now looks certain to slip following main contractor Ogilvie Construction being forced to down tools at the end of last month.

It isn’t scheduled to open for another six months or so after that, though, so that half-year’s breathing space should provide plenty of time for the project team to catch up.

At present, the building’s roof and walls are all but complete and its internal metal decking and concrete flooring are also in place.

Another aerial view of the Great Tapestry of Scotland visitor centre being built in Galashiels.

Galashiels councillor Andy Anderson said: “Although the building was due to be completed in September, the official opening is not until spring 2021, and I have been assured that completion by that date is still possible and being planned for.

“This project has caused controversy, with many opposing it being situated in Galashiels or being built at all.

“However, I feel that the tide had turned on that, with more support being expressed in the community, so it is a concern that some of this momentum may be lost with the delay.

“I have not been privy to the cost implications of the delay but expect that Scottish Borders Council will be discussing that with the Scottish Government and I will be looking for information on that going forward.

“The project is linked with other regeneration projects for Galashiels, which I assume will also be facing delays.

“At present, we have no way of knowing the final effects of the lockdown on local businesses despite the help available to many. However, I think this makes it all the more important that we have an attractions such as the tapestry building in Galashiels to help rebuild footfall in the town centre.

“It is not answer on its own, but I believe it will perform a key role in regenerating the town centre and helping businesses to recover through added footfall.”

Fellow Galashiels councillor Harry Scott said: “I am concerned that the project might be delayed. However, that said, we must all follow the advice we are given with regard to the current situation with coronavirus.

“The saving of life and reducing as far as possible the burden being placed on the NHS and other essential services must come before anything else.

“If the tapestry building is delayed because of that, it is something we will just have to live with. It will get built. We just might have to wait a wee while longer for it to appear.”

A council spokesperson said: “Once we better understand when works may commence again, we will be able to comment further on any implications of the delays.”

“The council is focused on the urgent and challenging issues presented by Covid-19.

“We are following the Scottish Government’s guidance in respect of works being stopped on all construction sites.”