COUNCILLORS are being directed towards Galashiels when they meet just before Christmas to decide the fate of the Great Tapestry of Scotland.

The long-running saga, which has attracted widespread anger at the expense incurred in bringing the attraction to the Borders. will be concluded at Scottish Borders Council's meting on December 22.

Despite fervently defending initial plans to locate the Tapestry in a purpose-built visitor centre near the rail terminus in Tweedbank, a coordinated press release issued this week indicates a U-turn within Newtown St Boswells.

Council leader David Parker stated: “The Galashiels proposal now being recommended was not available for consideration when the Tapestry project commenced, but earlier this year, due to the former Poundstretcher site becoming vacant and positive discussions with Royal Mail, an affordable and deliverable site in Galashiels has been identified. “The site in Galashiels will benefit from enhanced support from a range of funders and the site provides greater accommodation with more flexibility for the Tapestry and other exhibits and facilities.

“The town centre site will have a significant regeneration impact on Galashiels and will bring many benefits to nearby local businesses.

“Although both the Tweedbank and Galashiels sites have their advantages, there can be no doubt that after careful consideration Galashiels offers the greatest potential to provide a world class attraction which will make a significant contribution to the Borders economy.”

Since February the local authority has been working with the Scottish Government and other partners in the Borders Railway Blueprint programme to consider the best location for housing the Tapestry.

The Scottish Government has also confirmed that its previous £2.5 million funding pledge will be available for the Galashiels project.

Councillor Parker added: “Elected Members will consider a very robust business case and due diligence report at the Council meeting on December 22 when a final decision on the Tapestry can be made. “With tourism being a critical economic growth area for the Borders and with the Tapestry situated in the town centre, close to the new Borders Railway and benefiting from excellent road links, a really exciting and special tourist attraction can be delivered.”

Amongst the first to be informed of the U-turn was campaigning group Energise Galashiels.

Chair Mike Gray said: “Galashiels as the home of the Great Tapestry of Scotland would be a game-changing boost to the town.

“This investment, if Councillors decide to approve, will provide a wonderful and unique attraction and will regenerate the ‘old town centre’ which is suffering from the impact of the massive changes in retailing.

“Galashiels, as the home of the Great Tapestry of Scotland, has pan-Borders support from organisations such as Destination Scottish Borders and Scottish Borders Tourism Partnership as well as Galashiels Community Council, Galashiels Chamber of Trade, MacArts Centre and Galashiels Healthy High Streets.”

The move away from Tweedbank has also been welcomed by MSP Christine Grahame.

She told us: “I now feel my opposition to Tweedbank and my support for Galashiels has been vindicated.

"My stance on this has not been without opposition, with one councillor resigning from the SNP because of it, but it’s important that we now move forward and make this a success for Galashiels. It will bring the town centre much needed regeneration, build on the success of the railway and the Transport Hub, link in to Heriot Watt with its textile and design focus and extend that regeneration as visitor follow the Borders Textile Trail through the wider area.”