PLANS for a church to use the site of a former Galashiels restaurant have been unveiled.

Hope Church is seeking the council’s blessing to utilise the ground floor of 1A High Street as a “breakout space” for the comfort and convenience of parishioners attending sermons.

The unit was previously occupied by a buffet restaurant but is now vacant, according to a report submitted with the application.

The report stated: “The intention is to use this space to support Sunday sermons held at Overhaugh Street (opposite the site) by providing additional space for parishioners to take breaks in and congregate before and after.

“The space is required as the Church has outgrown its premises at Overhaugh Street and is unable to provide the environment for worship that attendees require. The Church is currently preparing plans to relocate to an alternative site in Galashiels town centre but these will be finalised before 2023.

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“The space will primarily be used on a Sunday when the Church meets. The Church holds its primary sermons on Sunday as well as other meetings for a variety of different groups throughout the week. None of these meetings will be held on-site.

“The proposal will generate significant footfall to the town centre on a Sunday as the Church currently sees around 120 no. members visit on a Sunday with this number growing consistently.”

Hope Church has been operating for the past nine years - three of those at their current premises at 1-3 Overhaugh Street, known to the Church as ‘Hope Central’.

The report added: “The proposal will return a unit within an existing building to an active use. This will directly support the town centre as a primary centre of activity and commerce in the Borders.

“The presence of an active user on-site will support other town centre uses, particularly retailers, by generating footfall. Although the use is not commercial or money-making, community groups can act as attractors of visitors and demand for a local area.

“People who make use of the space to be provided on-site will be naturally inclined towards visiting other shops in the town after attending church.

“This has the potential to serve as a robust alternative to online shopping and out-of-town retail outlets – either in the Borders or, more likely, outside – at other times during the week.”