HAWICK’s former cottage hospital could be turned into a residential complex, writes Kenny Paterson.
Borders College, which has a campus directly below the hospital site on Buccleuch Road, has re-submitted plans to partially demolish and alter the dilapidated B-listed building to provide 14 flats, while erecting another dwelling unit.
But local councillor George Turnbull feels the Victorian building, which is named on the Buildings at Risk Register, could have been saved if it had been marketed properly when the hospital closed in 2005.
He told TheSouthern: “It is an absolute disgrace that this beautiful building was allowed to fall into such disrepair by the local NHS and Borders College as this could have been converted into lovely houses.
“This property should have been on the market immediately after it was closed and the new community hospital opened. The market place was very buoyant at that time.
“Now, because of the poor condition, I suppose the most cost-effective proposal will be to demolish and have a cleared site to allow the proposed 14 houses.
“I think this is a fantastic development site and I hope it comes to fruition sooner than later.”
Hawick Cottage Hospital opened in 1885 at a cost of £1,399, raised by donations, subscriptions and fundraising.
It survived the construction of Borders General Hospital in 1988, though similar facilities in Galashiels and Selkirk closedg.
At its peak, in 1984, it dealt with 444 admissions, with a nursing staff of 35 plus 10 auxiliaries.
It was eventually shut when the £4.5 million community hospital was built in the town seven years ago.
Borders College subsequently bought the Buccleuch Road site to locate its new Hawick campus, and received planning permission to turn the hospital building into a 19-home development in May 2007.
However, the latest planning application was submitted as no work had started at the hospital within five years of permission being granted.
It appeared Borders College was prepared to get rid of the building following a board meeting in February this year, until the latest planning bid was made this week.