Wave of support key as town ‘on the brink’

Co-owner of The County Hotel Will Haegeland encourages Selkirk townsfolk to come together to create a community spirit with his slogan 'Imagine Selkirk'.
Co-owner of The County Hotel Will Haegeland encourages Selkirk townsfolk to come together to create a community spirit with his slogan 'Imagine Selkirk'.

The chairman of Selkirk Chamber of Trade has appealed for the public to show their backing for the town at Saturday’s Mexican Wave.

The wave has been organised by Will Haegeland and other business leaders in the chamber, who are attempting to revitalise the town centre.

Norwegian Hotelier Will H�geland.

Norwegian Hotelier Will H�geland.

Mr Haegeland told The Wee Paper: “We might not get all the wave all the way from The Green to the bowling club, but I think if we get a big enough crowd we can have it through the Market Square and down beyond the bank.

“If we get that I think we will be doing quite well, but we need people to come out and show solidarity with the town.”

The situation in the High Street is so bad currently that Mr Haegeland anticipates another four or five shops could close within the next few months, mainly due to the 30 per cent drop in footfall experienced by local traders.

“Selkirk town centre is on the brink of taking its last breath, there is no doubt about that,” he said.

“We need to do something about it, and Saturday’s event is to start it off.

“Together we need to do something and bring the town up and take it forward.”

He added: “The footfall is a concern for everyone in the High Street.

“We know times are tough, but if we don’t do something there is a limit to how long any one of us can stay in business.

“We need to bring people into the town.”

Mr Haegeland emphasised the need for anyone with ideas on how to revitalise the town, attract more tourists or shoppers, to come forward and share their ideas with others.

“People need to come forward with their ideas for things that will help the town.

“They also need to tell people about Selkirk,” he added.

“We need to try and make people understand that action is needed, and that they can be part of the solution.”

Mr Haegeland is also keen for the town’s young people to get involved in the efforts to breathe life back into the town centre.

“Young people need to be involved, we are building a town for their future.

“If the town doesn’t have the things that they need or would like to see then they will move away,” he said.

On Saturday, people can collect their ‘Imagine Selkirk’ T-shirts from La Contea at 10.15am.

They will then be arranged through the town centre, with the wave taking place shortly after 10.30am.

Afterwards, the winners of the children’s drawing competition will be announced.

Mr Haegeland said that the chamber had spoken to the local schools, council, politicians and various organisations to encourage them all to join in Saturday’s event.

Members of Scottish Borders Council’s economic development team have even agreed to come along and take part in the Mexican Wave to show support for the Chamber of Trade’s efforts.

z The Chamber of Trade is looking for town centre businesses to take hanging baskets to help brighten up the area as part of Selkirk in Bloom.

Fifty baskets have been acquired by the community council through Philiphaugh Estate, and the chamber are asking businesses to get in touch if they would like to have some hanging outside their premises.

They are also seeking a volunteer or two to water the baskets. Contact Edith Scott on 07718 786841.