Ashamed by the state of our town

Judith Cleghorn.
Judith Cleghorn.

Community councillors in Galashiels have been tasked with making more of an effort in keeping the town tidy, by their own chairperson.

At last Wednesday’s meeting, Judith Cleghorn said how “ashamed” she was after returning from a holiday to find the streets of her home town in a mess.

She said: “I have recently returned from a holiday in Normandy, where I was delighted to see busy shops, very few of them empty, lovely floral displays, especially on their roundabouts, but most importantly, lovely clean streets.

“Then I came home and, on Tuesday, walked up Channel Street – and I was ashamed.

“There were dirty overflowing bins, cigarette ends outside what was the Douglas Hotel, weeds growing out of the side of buildings, dirty chewing gum-strewn streets.

“I was ashamed, not so much with Channel Street, but with myself, because I am chair of this community council and should be helping to take responsibility for the look of this town.”

She said that budget restraints meant that the council could no longer give the service it used to.

She added: “What can we do to help get this town ready for the Great Tapestry of Scotland coming to Galashiels in 2021? We have two options; 1) We can do nothing, or 2) We can get together a working party and set an example to the folk of this town. Hopefully people will join us, but we have to lead by example, or we do not deserve to sit at this table, and I certainly do not deserve to sit at the head of it.

“By this time next year when people think of community council I do not want them to say ‘Who?’ I want them to say ‘Wow’.”

She tasked members to come up with ideas for next month’s meeting.

Community councillor Drew Tulley replied: “The state of the streets are a matter for Scottish Borders Council, you should take the matter up with local councillors.

“You have got to bear in mind that there is a hell of a lot of work done in this town by volunteers, with the waterways group and Galashiels in Bloom.

“There is a limit to how much certain people can do.”

Mrs Cleghorn said: “We do need to get more volunteers on board. We need to stand up and be counted.”