Plans drawn up to open door to new businesses at Hawick’s Tower Mill

Tower Mill in Hawick.
Tower Mill in Hawick.
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A new entrance to a landmark building in Hawick is expected to open the door to more interest from businesses.

A planning application has been submitted for an additional entry point at Tower Mill, the Kirkstile cultural and arts building with office for rent on its upper floor.

Currently, access to the business units is through a glazed screen doorway leading to the town’s VisitScotland tourist information office.

Staff and visitors also use the public entrance through the venue’s cafe.

That is not viewed as being conducive to making the 11 business units on the upper floor- four of which are currently vacant - an attractive proposition to potential tenants.

At present, all mail is delivered to the tourist information centre and distributed around the building, and that too is regarded as being offputting to possible tenants.

A council report says: “The success of the business units is key to the ongoing regeneration of Hawick, and the entrance to the business units is paramount to their success.

“For the entrance to succeed, it must be secure, while providing an appropriate and enhanced permanent point of entry and exit to and from the business units for tenants and visitors, and providing suitable means of escape in an emergency.”

The plan is for a swipe-card entry system for tenants, and for visitors there will be a call entry intercom system.

The report adds: “The new entrance for the business centre will mean that the business units become more desirable and better suited to the needs of local small businesses and start-ups, leading to increased interest and economic development opportunities.”

Tower Mill is a former spinning mill which also houses an auditorium, cafe and business units, two of which are occupied by Live Borders and Visit Scotland.

Built in the early 19th century on a bridge over the Slitrig Water, it ceased to operate as a mill in 1950 and was empty by the end of the 1980s, reopening in 2007 as part of the Heart of Hawick initiative.