£3,000 plans for gates at Hawick car park face knockback

Hawick's Common Haugh car park.
Hawick's Common Haugh car park.

A call for £3,000 to be spent on installing gates at the entrance and exit to Hawick’s Common Haugh Car Park faces rejection next week.

Hawick Volunteer Flood Group had requested that the gates be installed to deter motorists from using the car park in the event of further flooding hitting the town.

That request was prompted by the group’s claimed that during the floods of December 2015 and January the following year, the car park had become “chaotic and dangerous” due to spectators congregating there.

Hawick’s common good fund sub-committee requested a costing for installing gates, and the bill would be estimated to come to £3,000.

However, when members of the sub-committee meet at the lesser hall at Hawick Town Hall at 4pm on Tuesday, they will be recommended to approve an alternative, cheaper option due to various concerns about installing gates.

The proposal instead is to erect signs saying ‘car park closed’ in such circumstances at a cost of just £300.

That recommendation has disappointed Hawick and Denholm councillor Stuart Marshall, chairman of the volunteer flood group.

A report to the committee states: “In undertaking the request, concerns were expressed over the practicalities of opening and closing the gates during an extreme weather event and the provision of regular maintenance to ensure the gates were in working order, together with the associated funding to maintain that.”

Concerns were also raised that if gates were fitted, the council could be liable for any damage caused to cars unable to exit the car park.

The report adds: “In view of the concerns, Police Scotland, Scottish Borders Council emergency planning officer and the council’s network manager were consulted.

“Their collective response does not support the installation of gates as suggested and recommends the alternative to provide and position ‘car park closed’ signs and road cones at both the entrance and exit to the car park when deemed necessary during a significant flood event.

“The decision to deploy and subsequently remove any signs and cones would be controlled and managed through the council’s emergency planning section and would be built into the current process, picked up during the debrief of the recent storms, to close and manage the footbridges over the River Teviot.

“The operation resource to remove and erect any signs and cones would be undertaken by Scottish Border Council operatives deployed to deal with the emergency flood event taking place.”

Mr Marshall said: “While I fully understand the reasons behind recommending refusal of this proposal that was put forward by the volunteer flood group, I do however feel the group will be extremely disappointed by the decision.

“Whatever the outcome, whether it be signage or cones, it is important that everyone works together to make the Common Haugh a much safer place when such flooding events occur.

“I will be reporting the recommendations at our flood group annual general meeting on Monday, June 26.”