Tory councillor George Turnbull has branded the council’s handling of the Great Tapestry of Scotland issue a “public relations disaster”.
And according to Mr Turnbull the deal to house the tapestry at Tweedbank rail station was done even before it was discussed in Hawick Town Hall earlier this year.
Speaking to the Hawick News this week, an irate Councillor Turnbull made his thoughts clear: “The way this has been handled is a public relations disaster.”
He added: “It is very clear to see that Tweedbank was a done deal even before the item was discussed at the council meeting held in Hawick Town Hall earlier this year.
“It begs the question as to who is making the decisions at Scottish Borders Council because there seems to be less and less consultation or debate with the 34 duly elected members.”
However, speaking to the Hawick News just before our press deadline on Thursday, council leader David Parker dismissed Councillor Turnbull’s claims, saying: “I do not agree that this has been handled badly. I accept the disappointment felt by many in Hawick but I can assure you that no final decision has been made.”
Asked if the council is wasting £40,000 on a feasibility study when many of his press quotes link the tapestry directly to Tweedbank, Mr Parker said: “The findings on whether Tweedbank is a suitable venue to house the tapestry will be made to councillors in November but until then no decision has been made. I do believe the tapestry would be an asset to the region and that it would signpost tourists to other parts of the Borders.
“I do know that the trustees have other offers from areas that would love to house this magnificent work of art and they could accept any of these tomorrow. I have to reiterate that no decision had been made.”
Mr Turnbull’s claim was echoed by the Callants Club’s Derick Tait, who lobbied hard for Hawick to be included in discussions over a permanent home for tapestry.
“We have to be extremely disappointed that our questions have not been answered satisfactorily. And we are now left to wonder at the decision making process at Scottish Borders Council.”