Insider event to highlight Borders opportunities.
Byline: SCOTT MCCULLOCH
SCOTTISH Business Insider and Scottish Borders Council are to host a business breakfast event, on Friday 20 May at the Galashiels Transport Interchange, to highlight opportunities in the Scottish Borders region following the launch of the new Borders Railway link last year.
The 30-mile Borders Railway line, officially opened by Her Majesty The Queen on September 9, 2015, re-established rail links between Edinburgh and Tweedbank for the first time in 50 years.
The event will outline the new opportunities for businesses, both within the rail corridor and across the wider Scottish Borders region.
The PS294m line, the longest domestic railway to be built in the UK in 100 years, has already exceeded passenger projections, clocking up half a million passenger journeys within first five months of launch.
The new line investment, which added seven new stations - Tweedbank, Galashiels, Stow, Gorebridge, Newtongrange, Eskbank, Shawfair, to existing stations at Newcraighall and Brunstane - has been described by tourism body VisitScotland as "significant tourism magnet".
The Scottish Borders region is home to four of the great Scottish abbeys - in Melrose, Kelso, Jedburgh and Dryburgh.
VisitScotland said the Borders Rail link opens the Scottish Borders to the 3.4 million visitors who come to Edinburgh each year, and with journey times between Tweedbank and Edinburgh taking under an hour, the link has also credited as providing a vital commuter link between the Scottish Borders and the Central Belt. The Scottish Borders Council believes the region's excellent transport links, wide-ranging property options, skilled workforce and an excellent education system present a "compelling financial case" for business.
The Council has already signalled their intent to create Simplified Planning Zones along the Borders Railway corridor in a bid to generate economic growth.
Around 100 development sites have been identified within the rail corridor, and while many of those sites are "line on maps" at present, the Council is keen to promote the development potential spanning a range of uses, including housing, industrial, and leisure. The Council is actively promoting the region as a place to "live, work, visit, learn, play and grow" and is offering a specialised business support service to help firms to relocate or set up in the region.
A report launched by the First Minister in 2014: Borders Railway Maximising the Impact: A Blueprint for the Future, outlines key investment strategies across three strategic priority themes: Great Places for Working and Investing, Great Communities for Living and Learning, and Great Destinations to Visit.
The investment proposals, outlined in an 'national action plan', were backed by a PS10m investment commitment from the Scottish Government to maximise resources to deliver on those priorities within the Borders Rail corridor. | | More information can be found at www.insiderbusinessbreakfasts.co.uk. To book tickets or discuss sponsorship opportunities please call Michele Aaen on 0141 309 4906 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Above: Horse riders from Galashiels Borders Ridings gather at Tweedbank railway station to welcome a Borders Railway carriage