Future visions for Galashiels and Tweedbank

The master plans were presented to Councillors at a full meeting on Thursday 25 January. 

What are the master plans?

As part of the Borders Railway Blueprint programme, the plans - commissioned from independent consultants - present a variety of proposals to encourage people to live, learn, visit and work in the area, as well as attract inward investment through public and private sector funding. 

Both prospectuses present different visions, with the Galashiels masterplan aiming to regenerate the town centre while the Tweedbank masterplan suggests opportunities to expand the village and reposition the current industrial estate as a new Borders Innovation Park.

Visit the Scottish Borders site to read a full summary of the proposed plans. 

Borders Railway's success 'sustained' 

A study of the Borders Railway's second year has shown its "sustained, positive and measurable impact", according to Transport Minister Humza Yousaf.

He was responding to new research into the Edinburgh to Tweedbank line which opened in September 2015.

Mr Yousaf said it proved that communities were benefiting along the length of the route. Danny Cusick of the Borders Railway Blueprint Group said it had provided job and investment opportunities.

The research was based on a survey carried out between August and September last year and passenger journey figures from September 2016 to September 2017.

Read the full story on BBC News.

Selkirk based Spark Energy reports record turnover

Selkirk-based Spark Energy has announced record turnover in its latest accounts.

Group results for the year to June 2017 saw revenue reach £159m - an increase of 23% on the previous year. Gross profit also went up over the same period from just over £30m in 2016 to more than £37m the following year.

Chris Gauld, Spark's chief executive, said it had been "another big year for the company with growth right across the business". T

he firm has also appointed Kevin Lyon as its new chairman.

Read more on the BBC News website

Borders Railway campaigners maintain Carlisle extension goal. 

It comes with less than a year to go until the 50th anniversary of the closure of the old Waverley Line. 

The campaign for the Borders Railway (CBR) said it remained "more active than ever" in efforts to see the line taken beyond its Tweedbank terminus. 

A feasibility study is currently looking at the possibility of taking the tracks on into Cumbria. CBR chairman Simon Walton said: "We are less than a year away from the 50th anniversary of the savage pruning that removed all of the Borders railways."

Read the full story over on BBC News

Which railway lines in Scotland could be re-opened?

The Scotsman has named the Borders Railway extension as one of the top five lines most likely to reopen. 

When residents in Midlothian and the Borders celebrated the opening of the £350m Borders rail link in 2015, campaigners in other Scottish communities still cut off from the network looked on enviously. But which of the several lines under construction is most likely to reopen? 

With the Borders Railway to Tweedbank already proving a success, campaigners believe extending it south to Hawick and onwards to Carlisle would be the next logical step. 

"Hawick suffered most from the loss of the Waverley Route in 1969 and deserves to get its rail link back," said rail consultant David Spaven. "It would require 17 miles of new construction south of Tweedbank - including some awkward new road crossings where local and central government failed to protect the line route from the 1970s to the 1990s. "But its certainly achievable, and could also serve Melrose and Newton St Boswells, with a park-and-ride bus interchange for Kelso."

Read the full list here. 

Jedburgh restaurant a vital cog in a billion pound industry

The Scotsman takes a look at former Scotland Food and Drink Excellence Award Winner, Born in the Borders, and how it has established itself as a hub for local culinary and beverage excellence. 

The Scottish food and drink industry is, by some margin, our largest export - netting £5.5 billion for the national economy in 2016, and growing year on year. Our produce is remarkable - superlative seafood, tender meats and bountiful fruit and vegetables. 

So it seems a natural progression to build businesses that celebrate all Alba has to offer - which is precisely what Jedburgh's Born in the Borders does. Once a brewery, deli/farm shop, cafe, and restaurant, this converted farm steading is a comprehensive - and sophisticated showcase of the culinary pleasures the Scottish Borders have to offer. 

Located on the banks of the River Teviot, Born in the Borders was born as a brewery - originally known as the Scottish Borders Brewery - in 2011, due to practical considerations, said owner John Henderson. "We were farmers looking to diversify. We looked at our core product barley (grown on its surrounding Chesters estate) and wondered how we could add value to it. Creating a beer seemed like a natural step forward."

The desire to utilise what was at hand and showcase the flavours of their estate and surrounds was at the heart of John philosophy when expanding the business into a deli/farm shop. Evidently, his commitment and passion for the produce of a local provenance shone through: in 2015, Born in the Borders won the Scottish Food & Drink Excellence Award for Scottish sourcing. "It was a huge vindication of everything we set out to achieve." he said, reflecting on the win. 

"Scotland's natural larder deserves to be celebrated. We source as locally as possible, but don't just try to buy items, we look to forge deep and long-lasting relationships with our suppliers to our benefit. This might involve co-branding, co-product creation and cross promotion."

Read the full article here.