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Galashiels: Hope Church in ex-virtual golf center conversion bid

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Galashiels: Hope Church in ex-virtual golf center conversion bid

A BOOMING Borders church could soon be teeing off at a new home if the conversion of a former virtual golf complex gets the green light.

Borders Virtual Golf Center closed its doors at 38 Channel Street, Galashiels, in February 2016 after just a year in business.

At the time owner Tom Gilhooley blamed falling town center footfall for its demise.

It has been revealed that Hope Church Borders, currently based in the town’s Overhaugh Street, wants to move into the premises, with a planning application submitted to the Scottish Borders Council this week.

The church was founded in 2013 and its congregation has grown year on year, with the existing church building no longer large enough for the entire congregation to gather. As a result, two individual Sunday services are held to serve all members.

A separate application for planning permission for conversion of 3 High Street, Galashiels, is in the pipeline for its use as an additional break-out space for parishioners.

READ MORE: Borders GP practice told to apologize over withdrawal of patient’s medication

The church has proven to be a boon for the community by providing much more than religious services.

A report with the latest planning bid, from Galashiels-based Ferguson Planning, said: “As part of their operation at the new site, the church intends to hold one Sunday morning worship at 10.30am that the entire congregation can attend.

“The church also holds regular meetings for a variety of groups, including a Friday night youth group consisting of approximately 30 young people from the church and the wider community, a weekly baby and toddler group which meets in morning and afternoon sessions on a Wednesday and a community money advice debt center at the premises at 1-3 Overhaugh Street.”

Additionally, the current location acts as a base for food bank collections and street pastors.

The report added: “The site has been chosen by the applicant due to its size and location in the town center which will provide an accessible gathering point for the church’s congregation.”

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