Council’s tapestry decision under fire

The Great Tapestry of Scotland is being exhibited at New Lanark from October 20 to November 23. Entry to view the tapestry is free and visitors can receive 10 per cent off New Lanark Visitor Centre tickets with their Great Tapestry admission ticket. It is open 10am to 5pm daily (last entry 4pm). Official opening of the Tapestry on Wednesday, October 22, 2014.''Pics by freelancer Sarah Peters
The Great Tapestry of Scotland is being exhibited at New Lanark from October 20 to November 23. Entry to view the tapestry is free and visitors can receive 10 per cent off New Lanark Visitor Centre tickets with their Great Tapestry admission ticket. It is open 10am to 5pm daily (last entry 4pm). Official opening of the Tapestry on Wednesday, October 22, 2014.''Pics by freelancer Sarah Peters

Nine objections have been lodged against a planning application for a £6million visitor centre for the Great Tapestry of Scotland at Tweedbank.

With just a week remaining for public comments to be submitted, this is in stark contrast to the 4,200 people who have signed a petition calling for Scottish Borders Council (SBC) to overturn its decision to spend £3.5million on the project.

Brian McCrow, the Innerleithen community councillor who organised the petition, is thus seeking to mobilise opposition to SBC’s planning bid ahead of the August 20 deadline for public comments.

“It’s bad enough that the planning committee is expected to determine a bid from its own council on September 7.

“But it is worse that the application is being processed during the school holidays while people are away or doing things at home,” said Mr McCrow.

“There should have been an open democratic consultation lasting two months prior to the planning application submission as SBC is well aware from our petition and via the local press that there are objectors from across the Borders.”

A number of the objections already submitted have claimed sites other than the wooded area at Tweedbank, next to the new rail terminal, would be more suitable for the 1,820 sq. metres two-storey building, while others have railed against what they consider a waste of public money.

“While I share these sentiments, they are not material to the determination of the planning application,” said Mr McCrow.

Using the internet platform change.org, he has this week appealed to those who have supported his petition online to register their objections to the planning application before next Thursday’s deadline, telling them: “You need to object on planning grounds.”

Mr McCrow offers some suggestions of legitimate grounds for objections, including the scale of the building, the environmental impact on trees and wildlife, lack of parking provision and road safety implications.”