Council leader to visit Hawick on grass-cutting walkaround

Hawick councillor Stuart Marshall in Stirches Road.
Hawick councillor Stuart Marshall in Stirches Road.

Council chiefs have agreed to visit Hawick next week in a bid to better understand the outcry which has erupted in the town since cutbacks to grass-cutting were introduced.

The visit comes in response to criticism gathered and shared by town councillors following the council’s move from fornightly to monthly grass-cutting in public areas acorss the Borders in April.

Council leader Shona Haslam and Galashiels councillor Sandy Aitchison, the authority’s executive member for neighbourhoods and localities, have agreed to visit Hawick next Thursday, June 21, for a walkaround with town councillors.

That news was welcomed by Hawick Community Council when shared by Hawick and Denholm councillor Stuart Marshall at Monday night’s meeting.

“I am delighted that Mrs Haslam has taken up our invite to visit the town for a walkaround,” Mr Marshall told the committee. “I think many people in Hawick are disgusted at the moment by the state of the grass in the town.”

The walkaround is a chance for Mr Marshall and his fellow councillors to point out areas of particular concern around the town.

All six of the town’s councillors attended Monday night’s meeting and promised to present a united front, saying they are all fully prepared to push for a change.

Hawick and Denholm councillor Clair Ramage said: “We need to work together with this, and it needs to be looked at seriously.”

Hawick and Hermitage councillor George Turnbull blamed health and safety restrictions for playing a part in the changes. “It’s really very frustrating,” he said. “The rules in health and safety have changed so dramatically that we are going backwards instead of forwards.

“We have to pay to get a contractor to get the mote cut. It begs the question does all the grass-cutting get contracted out in the future?”

Town honorary provost Watson McAteer urged the community council’s Hawick in Bloom representative, Liz Adams, to tell the group it should “apply for any funding going”, adding: “It’s sad to see our town looking such a mess at the moment.

“We want to see it looking better as soon as possible.”

Last week, community council chairman Ian Turnbull signed a joint letter from his Ancrum, Jedburgh and Kelso counterparts to Scottish Borders Council branding the cutbacks as “a senseless act of stupidity” and calling for a rethink.

before it damages the areas appeal to tourists.