The moor the merrier as fund agrees extra £2,000 handout for Hawick horse initiative
Ambitious plans to redevelop Hawick Moor have been given another funding boost by the town’s common good fund.
Future Hawick launched a sub-group earlier this year to take forward the long-running Town of the Horse project.
The initiative, first suggested in 2016, aims to develop the facilities at the St Leonard’s Park racecourse and extend its current usage of nine days annually to all year round.
Initial proposals – expected to cost millions of pounds if approved – include landscaping the centre of the racecourse and adapting the existing building to include a cafe, toilet facilities and meeting rooms, as well as creating an indoor riding school.
The moor is currently used mostly during the town’s June common riding festival, but the project’s bosses believe it has the potential to attract visitors to Hawick all year round, delivering a much-needed boost for the town’s economy.
The project was given £2,000 by the common good fund and £4,000 by Scottish Borders Council in March to conduct a feasibility study, and that has enabled the Town of the Horse sub-group to move on to the next stage of the project – to hire an architect to create 3D model images of the proposed moor redevelopment.
The further £2,000 secured from the common good fund will pay for that, giving Teries a better idea of what to expect from the project as it develops.
Speaking at a meeting of the common good fund sub-committee on Tuesday, Derick Tait, chairman of Future Hawick, said: “We’re looking for £2,000 to fund a 3D model for Hawick Moor to take the process further on where we can have a public consultation for the town, so everybody is aware of what Town of the Horse is about.
“If we had the money ourselves, we would use it, but, as it stands, Future Hawick has £1,955, so we’re struggling.”
“As of today, we’ve been assigned somebody from the South of Scotland Economic Partnership, so we’re meeting up with him in the near future.
“The process, as it stands, is that we need to get money to get these plans done and get things going in January because I think we’ve got until April to get this done.”
Speaking in favour of the application, Hawick and Hermitage councillor Watson McAteer said: “The feasibility study which came in was very positive, and it would be remiss of us to not support this and see what the next phase of development brings.
“I’m really looking to the public consultation stage and getting this out to the people of the town and get some buy-in, so the quicker we can get to that stage the better.”
The application for £2,000 was agreed unanimously.