40 homes for elderly lined up for wasteland site in Hawick

Hawick and Denholm councillor Stuart Marshall on the wasteland near Stirches Primary School.
Hawick and Denholm councillor Stuart Marshall on the wasteland near Stirches Primary School.

The go-ahead has been given for 40 new homes for the elderly on council-owned waste land close to Stirches Primary School in Hawick.

Scottish Borders Council’s executive committee pushed ahead with the project this week, and the authority will now sell the land to Eildon Housing Association for a nominal fee of just £1.

The dormant land has long been thought of as having the potential for development but without any plans ever coming to fruition.

Hawick and Denholm councillor Stuart Marshall said he was delighted the executive had now thrown its weight behind the scheme.

He said: “I see this development as a real positive for our town, and we have an opportunity to enhance the provision of both extra care housing and affordable housing for our townsfolk on land that has lain dormant for a very long time.

“Of course, there is much more work to be done to bring such a project to life, and we must make sure that when plans are being drawn up that we keep the residents living nearby fully up to speed with progress.

“With Hawick currently benefiting from some major private investment projects, this latest announcement can only be viewed as another major step forward for our town and one which will hopefully help address a real need within our area for this type of housing model.”

Speaking at Tuesday’s committee meeting, Hawick and Hermitage councillor Watson McAteer said the land had become a “dog-fouling nightmare” in recent times, adding: “I’m all for Eildon taking this on. A new build within the Stirches complex is going to be a real boost to the area. It has my complete support”.

Fellow ward councillor George Turnbull added: “I was involved in the days of the old district council when Stirches was built, and phase two just never came. It’s been a long time coming.”

A report to the committee said: “It is envisaged that the Stirches development will provide extra care housing for social rent, and potentially mid-market rent and shared equity options, all of which are considered as being consistent with the council’s affordable housing policy.

“A feasibility study will be carried out in due course by the association’s design team to confirm the numbers of units that can be developed on the site.”