Calls go out for £44m Hawick river defences to be extended

Slitrig Bank in Hawick.
Slitrig Bank in Hawick.

Flood-hit residents in Hawick fear their homes will miss out on much-needed protection in the event of another deluge.

Some properties in Slitrig Bank have been flooded twice in the last decade, and locals were hoping they would face no further misery once work is completed on £44m river defences planned in the town.

Councillor Davie Paterson at Slitrig Bank in Hawick.

Councillor Davie Paterson at Slitrig Bank in Hawick.

However, it has now emerged that their homes will not be covered by the project.

That is particularly concerning to residents worried about a wall they say is being undermined by trees on the riverbank.

Their concerns have been raised with council officers by Hawick and Hermitage councillor Davie Paterson, but he has been informed that Slitrig Bank is not covered by the ambitious scheme, designed to protect 900 properties in the town but not theirs.

Mr Paterson is now pushing for a rethink in a bid to give Slitrig Bank residents peace of mind in years to come.

He said: “My constituents are concerned that these trees are undermining the wall, and now I’m told that the area is not in the town’s flood protection scheme.

“There’s some people in Slitrig Bank who have been flooded twice in 10 years and they’re unhappy they are not going to get any help.

“That wall, in the event of a big flood, will be washed away, and it needs to be looked at urgently. Something has to be done. Folk say that a few years ago there never used to be as much vegetation as there is now, and that’s adding to the problem.

“The wall needs pointed, and the fear is that in its current state it is not strong enough to withstand a big flood if it comes, and it will also need to be maintained on a regular basis.

“I have contacted the officer concerned and it has been made clear that Slitrig Bank is not within the boundary of the scheme, but now I want the council to look at this again.”

A council spokesperson said: “The Hawick flood protection scheme will protect against flooding in the centre of Hawick from the River Teviot to a one-in-75-year level of protection.

“A number of locations on the Slitrig Water upstream of Drumlanrig Bridge currently already benefit from a one-in-75-year level of protection.

“ Those areas on the Slitrig Water not protected to that level are currently being reviewed by our flood and coastal management team.

“There are aspirations for mitigation measures to be put in place in the future to bring the level of flood protection in these areas up to the same level as will be achieved for the town centre by the flood scheme.”

“The existing wall is reviewed on an annual basis, with repairs carried out to a small section in 2018.

“The new issue highlighted will be assessed and repairs, if necessary, carried out to ensure the continuing functionality of the wall.”