£3.6m regeneration bid for Hawick taking shape after final proposals agreed

Scottish ministers are being urged to splash the cash on Hawick in a bid to boost its fortunes now a list of proposals has been agreed on as the best way forward.

Thursday, 2nd March 2017, 5:16 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:03 am
Scottish Government business minister Paul Wheelhouse, centre, in Hawick with Scottish Borders Council leader David Parker, right, and fellow executive member Stuart Bell in September when the funding was first announced.

Scottish Borders Council is now set to submit a formal proposal to the Scottish Government to have £3.6m spent on regeneration projects in the town

That cash was originally announced back in September, but it was only at its full meeting today that the council agreed on the final proposals to be put to the Holyrood administration.

As part of the Scottish Government’s latest legislative programme, it was agreed that Hawick, being judged to be one of the towns in most need of help, be allocated the lion’s share of a £10m fund on the condition that that funding is committed to specific projects by the end of this month.

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The Scottish Government funds are aimed at helping to deliver a variety of business infrastructure projects to help boost the town’s economy and to encourage business growth and new investment in the town.

It is expected that these projects will provide new jobs, as well as acting as a catalyst for further potential property development in the future.

The funding now looking to be on the way follows the development of the initial Hawick action plan by the council, Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Government and local businesses and community groups following the loss of scores of jobs in the town’s knitwear industry early last year.

Following a report to the meeting of the full council held in private due to commercially sensitive information being discussed, a proposal for key sites for immediate development, along with feasibility studies for other prominent sites, will be submitted to ministers by council officers.

The plans have been developed by officers after being narrowed down from a wide range of initial options.

Tweeddale East councillor Stuart Bell, the authority’s executive member for economic development, said: “Since the Scottish Government announced the availability of funding for Hawick in late September, a huge amount of work has been carried out to get us to the position today where the council has been able to agree on the final proposals to go forward to the Government for consideration.

“We anticipate that these projects will have a really positive impact on Hawick.

“However, we know this is the first stage of a long process to help regenerate the town.

“While these projects will help towards some of the aims of the Hawick action plan, we need to continue to work in partnership to address the challenges that Hawick faces.

“The wide range of elements in the action plan cannot be delivered by the public sector alone.

“Hopefully, the funding and these projects, which we will make public as soon as we can, will encourage the private sector and community of Hawick to rally behind the action plan and work with us to improve and bring vitality back to the town.”