PLANS to create a culture trust to take over local libraries, museums and public halls is expected to get the nod of approval next week.

Scottish Borders Council's full meeting on Wednesday is being asked to agree to the establishment of an integrated culture and sport trust.

If the green light is given it will lead to the local authority's entire cultural services department being transferred over to Borders Sport and Leisure.

Councillor Vicky Davidson, who is currently the spokeswoman for Culture, Sport, Youth and Communities at Newtown, said: “A significant amount of work has taken place in partnership with Borders Sport and Leisure to look at the feasibility of an integrated trust, including learning from similar combined trusts around the country.

“Our cultural services staff are highly regarded in their various fields of expertise and do an excellent job at present.

"I’m therefore very confident that they will continue to innovate, modernise services and generate significant external funding under any new management arrangements.

“A combined trust would free up resources and provide new synergies and focus on the wide range of cultural services which we know are hugely important to the Borders public.”

As well as the region's public halls, libraries, community centres and museums being transferred over, the arts development department will also sit alongside the existing sport and leisure services managed by the Galashiels-based Leisure Trust .

Peter Duncan, Chairman of the BSLT board of trustees, welcomes the additional responsibility. He told us: “At BSLT, we see potential for combining our existing sport and leisure responsibilities with cultural services to deliver improved services across the Scottish Borders.

“A lot of work will be required to ensure that a combined trust is in a sustainable position to deliver, however we have very high expectations for delivering an enhanced cultural services offering that excites and involves local people and that builds upon 12 years of hard work to increase participation in sport and physical activity.”

Plans to create an additional trust to manage cultural services were first tabled last November.

And in February of this year it was agreed to form a joint working group with BSLT.

Councillors will consider a final report on Wednesday 7.

If the recommendations for approval are agreed the new integrated trust will become operational from next April.