HOPES that the much-vaunted Edinburgh and South of Scotland City Deal would provide funding for a textile innovation centre in Galashiels have been dashed.

It follows confirmation that Scottish Borders Council is to receive just £15m over the next 15 years from the initiative which, across Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and the Borders, is worth an estimated £600m.

It falls far short of the £26.9m which the council had requested from the investment programme, funded jointly by the Scottish and UK governments.

And last week’s full council meeting heard that all of the region’s specific funding allocation would be spent on one project – the development of a business park at Tweedbank/Lowood.

“After all the work and effort that council officers put into the City Deal, it is deeply disappointing that all that comes to our region is the crumbs off the table, with Edinburgh getting most of the cake,” said Councillor Stuart Bell, leader of the SNP opposition group at Newtown.

Prior to the May elections, Mr Bell was SBC’s executive member for economic development, involved in the City Deal negotiations on behalf of the council.

“An average of £1m a year for 15 years for direct investment in developments at Tweedbank is a fraction of what we aspired to,” he revealed.

“While there will be other benefits from a skills programme and support for housing across the six local authorities, these details are still not clear.

“During our discussions, we promoted the creation of a textile innovation centre at Heriot-Watt University in Galashiels and a renewable energy innovation centre based in the Borders.

“There was also discussion about specific roads infrastructure projects in the Borders to improve connectivity and our tourism offer.

“These have all gone in what can only be described as a poor deal.”

Mr Bell’s successor at the helm of economic development, Councillor Mark Rowley (Con), said the council’s final “ask” of £26.9m was “not hugely ambitious in relation to other projects”.

However, he said the region was set to benefit from the creation in 2020 of a dedicated South of Scotland Enterprise Agency.

And he said aspects of the City Deal, such as the £120m allocated to carry out bypass improvements on the A720 at Sheriffhall south of Edinburgh, would also benefit the region.

A report by SBC’s executive director Rob Dickson on the City Deal revealed that the overall costs of delivering the Tweedbank/Lowood business park project were estimated at £58m.

“The funding commitment approved by the council in its capital programme is currently £5m over the next two years with a further £1.7m being provided by Scottish Enterprise.

“Commercial rents of £10.6m are assumed as part of the funding package. This indicates a current shortfall in capital funding of £25.7m to deliver the full project”.

Mr Bell observed: “With over £25m still missing from this project, it is unrealistic to see it going ahead as currently envisaged – and that is the only project supported by the City Deal.”