Borders MSP Christine Grahame is urging Travelodge to choose a town centre location as it looks for a potential site for a new hotel in Galashiels.
The budget hotel chain has confirmed it is pressing ahead with plans to open 20 more hotels in Scotland and hopes one will be its first in the Borders, as reported in last week’s Southern.
Both the Burgh Yard, near the town’s Tesco store, and Tweedbank’s proposed Border Gateway have been suggested as possible sites, tying in with retail park and filling station developments, but Ms Grahame is called for a more central location to give the town centre a boost.
The Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale MSP said: “I would welcome a development such as a low-cost hotel like Travelodge in Galashiels, as I have said previously, but Tweedbank is the wrong place.
“After the fiasco of Scottish Borders Council wanting to put the Great Tapestry of Scotland in a dome there and cutting down protected trees, I hope it has learned its lessons.
“Tweedbank is not a final destination for the railway. In due course, it is my hope it will be just another station connecting with our neighbours across the border.
“The dire need is for a low-cost hotel in Galashiels tying in with the tapestry and being part of the much-needed regeneration of the town centre.
“We also do not need another retail park at Tweedbank or the Burgh Yard. Either of those would be the final nail in the coffin of the small businesses in the town.
“These sites should be used for much-needed social housing, and I will argue forcibly that that should be what happens.
“After all, I had to argue against many to prevent the tapestry going into that dome at Tweedbank.”
It was following Ms Grahame’s intervention that the Scottish Government threatened to withdraw part of its share of funding for the tapestry’s planned home in the Borders, prompting the rethink that will now see the artwork housed in High Street and Channel Street in Galashiels.