You have made specific claims that the Great Tapestry of Scotland Trust had other bidders to house its Tapestry and that the Scottish Borders Council was in competition against others to win the contact to build and house the Tapestry.

I have now sent out Freedom of Information requests to all the councils in Scotland asking them if they have ever bid, or negotiated with the Tapestry Trust to permanently house The Great Tapestry of Scotland. In every case except for East Lothian the answer has been No and therefore I have had to assume that either Councillor Parker, you have been less than honest or that there is another answer. I would now like to bring this to a head and publicly ask who was the Scottish Borders Council bidding against?

In your open letter to Selkirk Community Council you make specific note of the fact that Officers of the Scottish Borders Council have specifically and seriously undertaken fully costed out options regarding the other vacant buildings within the Borders. In particular you mention of the Galashiels Post Office where you state that building modification costs would be far higher than the new build you propose in Tweedbank. You then state that all the other locations in the Border Towns were deemed unsuitable due to build costs, size restrictions and/or by exacting demands placed on you by the members of the Tapestry Trust. It was on this basis too that you put your only proposal to the Council Members in December 2014.

Again I have asked the Scottish Borders Council under Freedom of Information Legislation to confirm that they were tasked and carried out evaluation work and surveys as you described. The answer has again been negative, with the rider that they already had some general knowledge of Border Buildings and none came to mind as suitable. No mention was made of any detailed costing including the recently emptied buildings such as the Galashiels Post Office, NGT Building in Selkirk or the old Barbour factory in Tweedbank.

Throughout 2014 you consistently pushed a 'one choice’ agenda for the Tapestry. There was a photograph of you and MSP Salmond announcing the building before the business case was fully written or the Councillors had given their approval. You have regularly maintained that the new build had to conform with specific requirements of the 'Great Tapestry of Scotland’ Trustees. It seems to me that you have allowed group of unknown and unelected Tapestry Trustees to bully you into giving them a huge free chunk of cash, (without liability) which is to be taken out in the form of a 30 year loan to be paid for by Borders taxpayers. Will you now confirm in writing that none of the Tapestry Trustees, will in any way whatsoever, receive any financial benefit or remuneration from the project?

I will be 'on the hook’ for part of the £17,000 a month loan repayments you are signing me up to for the next 30 years and therefore I feel I deserve a few answers.

I am, etc.

Neil Ballantyne Walkerburn