Tweedbank tapestry deadline extended

The number of objectors to Scottish Borders Council’s plans for a £6million visitor centre for the Great Tapestry of Scotland at Tweedbank has risen fourfold in the last seven days.

By yesterday, 32 people had urged SBC’s planning committee to reject the application for consent – with none, as yet, writing to support the proposal. And SBC confirmed this week that representations either for or against the bid can be submitted beyond today’s advertised deadline.

“The council will accept representations up until the day of the planning committee meeting which is a significantly longer period than is required by the regulations,” said a spokesperson, adding: “As a result, there are at least three weeks left for anyone to make a comment on the tapestry application.”

That would suggest the committee will consider the bid at its meeting on September 7, although there is speculation it might not be determined until October 5.

The spokesperson was responding to a call from opposition Tory councillor Gavin Logan (Tweeddale East) for the deadline to be extended. He claimed SBC’s online planning portal had “crashed” on several occasions during the statutory period for representations.

“We are aware some people have had difficulties accessing the portal, but having checked with our software supplier, the portal is compatible with the latest versions of the most popular internet browsers” said the spokesperson.

But SBC admitted its entire website has been “down” on two occasions since the tapestry application was submitted.

Although no individual has yet written to support the bid for the 1,820sqm two-storey gallery building on a wooded area of Tweedbank Drive next to the new rail terminal, it has received positive endorsement from SBC’s own economic development department, claiming it “ strongly fits” the targets set out in the region’s tourism strategy.

A 4,200-signature petition calling for SBC to reverse its decision to support the venture to the tune of £3.5million is due to be considered by the council’s petitions and delegations committee on October 1.