Plans to bring a former railway station house back into community use have been given a significant boost of over £150,000.
Scottish Borders Council, working in partnership with Stow Community Trust, have been awarded £156,000 from the Regeneration Capital Grant Fund, delivered in partnership between Scottish Government and COSLA/Local Authorities, for the restoration of the Stow Rail Station House.
The plans would see a bistro and a separate cycle hire and repair business created in the building, which sits alongside the Borders Railway.
Central to the development is the provision of a community and visitor hub for road cycling and walking heritage trails, plus the establishment within the building of a multi-purpose room for community use.
A secondary aim is to help revitalise the village economy through collaboration with other community businesses to contribute to an improvement of visitor facilities. The Trust and partners plan to achieve this with a more co-ordinated approach towards accommodation, walking, cycling, heritage attractions, food and drink.
The project already has development support from the Borders Railway Blueprint programme, EDF Longpark Community Fund and SSE Toddleburn Community Fund.
While further capital funding is needed to finalise the building and renovation work for the project, the support from the Regeneration Capital Grant is a major step forward.
Councillor Mark Rowley, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for Business and Economic Development, said: ‘It is fantastic news that the former Stow Rail Station House will receive this support from the Regeneration Capital Grant Fund.
‘A lot of hard work has gone into the project to reach this stage, and more will be required, but with the support of the community and the Council I am hopeful we can see a new facility at the Station House open in the near future.
‘This is also another example of an opportunity being presented by the Borders Railway, with the proximity of the rail line to the building making it a prime location for people to visit and explore the surrounding area.’
Bob Howarth, Vice Chair of Stow Community Trust, said: ‘To hear of this award is very welcome news. It is a significant step on the way to being able to start to prepare for the refurbishment work and the creation of a vibrant new community facility and quality visitor attraction ready to open in spring 2020.’
Councillor Sandy Aitchison, SBC’s executive member for Neighbourhoods and Locality Services, added: ‘I am delighted to hear the group will receive this support towards the Station House project and hope that the community can support the Trust as they continue with their efforts to secure the remainder of the funding package needed to ensure it can be delivered.’