AN APPLICATION for a community group to gain title to the town’s last remaining piece of rail history has not hit the buffers yet.

About three months ago, the Peebles Railway Heritage Group (PRHG), a sub-group of Peebles Community Trust, applied to Scottish Borders Council, under Community Asset Transfer rules, to gain the title to a former building in Eastgate Car Park.

The building is the railway’s old weighbridge office.

It was built in about 1880 and PRHG has great plans on how to recondition it possibly as a tourist information centre.

At Peebles Community Council’s meeting last Thursday, member Malcolm Bruce, of the Community Trust, made a plea for councillors to apply pressure to speed up the process.

Tweeddale West councillor Drummond Begg took the matter on and early this week it emerged that there was an unseen email which needs a reply from PRHG.

Currently PRHG has a 25-year lease on the building at a “peppercorn rent” from SBC which handed the keys over in March 2020.

At the meeting Mr Bruce explained the rationale for gaining title to the building and said: “We have spent £7,000 on the roof and doors since but decided last year not to spend any more, or raise further cash for the project, until we know whether we own the building.

“Perhaps SBC want to keep the building but they have no use for it.

“If we succeed we will be in a much better place to apply for funds to refurbish to heritage standards than we would have been whilst we simply held a 25-year lease.

“We estimate this will cost at least £30,000.

“The building though would have to generate some sort of rental income.”

Passion for buildings from the country’s industrial and transport past has never been greater, particularly for the halcyon days of steam railways.

And Peebles is no different.

PRHG’s Facebook group has nearly a thousand members and attracts up to four posts a week which often lead to lengthy conversations.

When the keys were handed over in 2020, Les Turnbull, then PCC chairman said: “Though not widely known, Peebles had three railway stations at one time and indeed owes much of its development to the part railways played in bringing visitors to the town as well as the transport of goods and materials.

“Because this office sits in what is considered to be the main car park for the town there is an opportunity to use the facility to provide much needed information on local attractions and activities.”

Mr Begg added: “This is an important part of Peebles' heritage.

“It needs to be restored and preserved for future generations. I am keen to support Peebles Community Trust in its plans for a Community Asset transfer.”

A spokesperson for Scottish Borders Council said: “Following the submission of a draft asset transfer application, comments from SBC officers were sent to Peebles Community Trust and additional information was requested via email on November 2 last year.

“Although an additional document was submitted, further information relating to the content of the application is still awaited.

“Once this is received, the Trust’s application will be progressed.

“Prior to the discussion at Peebles Community Council, SBC was not aware the Trust was waiting on further action from the council.

“If there has been any misunderstanding of what was required to progress the application we apologise for any confusion caused.”