Clean up your act, Hawick market traders told

Hawick councillor Davie Paterson outside the Common Haugh car park public toilets.
Hawick councillor Davie Paterson outside the Common Haugh car park public toilets.

Concerns are being voiced about the amount of mess being left by the Saturday market held at Hawick’s Common Haugh.

Hawick’s common good fund trustees awarded a lease to operator Geraud UK to oversee the running of the market in 2015.

Rubbish at the toilets at the Common Haugh car park in Hawick.

Rubbish at the toilets at the Common Haugh car park in Hawick.

That was seen as a chance to give the market a new lease of life as it was waning in popularity at the time, with numbers both stallholders and visitors in steep decline.

The company had indicated that it would be willing to support local events by providing bespoke stalls in locations outside the Common Haugh in a bid to attract more visitors to the town.

However, various concerns over the way the market is currently operating have been raised by the common good fund’s trustees, and a meeting with the company is to be arranged to address them.

Hawick and Hermitage councillor Davie Paterson has added his voice to the anger being expressed about some stallholders leaving rubbish and debris in the market after closing up for the day.

He says it is Scottish Borders Council that is having to pick up the bill for the weekly clean-ups required and that is not fair.

Mr Paterson added: “I have had several complaints from constituents about the mess that is left behind by the market traders.

“Why should the council have to pick up the bill for the mess they leave behind?

“I have also written to an officer at the council.

“This sort of behaviour cannot, and I hope will not, be allowed to continue.

“I just dread to think what visitors to the town will think.”

Fellow Hawick and Hermitage councillor Watson McAteer, independent for Hawick and Hermitage, said: “The contract was awarded by Hawick common good fund trustees to Geraud UK, who are established market operators.

“The agreement was to allow them to establish and build the number of stallholders, including providing bespoke stalls, to build the market from a very poor legacy position. Thereafter, a decision on rental charges would be made in the future when trading and footfall information was available.

“The trustees have already expressed concern about the way the market is operating and are in the process of arranging a meeting with Geraud UK’s directors to establish what the future might look like.”

Geraud UK was established in 1998 and currently manages markets throughout the UK, Sweden and Denmark.

In an average year, it provides traders and customers with 4,700 market days across a varied selection of indoor, outdoor and street location, together with specialist events such as food and drink festivals.

No one from the firm, based at Prescot Shopping Centre in Merseyside, was available to comment on the Hawick councillors’ concerns.