Demolition a better option, claims provost

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Although the £3.6m being splashed out on Hawick is welcome, many Teries would rather see the former Almstrong’s department store building demolished, according to the town’s honorary provost.

At its meeting on Monday night, Watson McAteer told members of Hawick Community Council: “First of all, we have to welcome that £3.6m is coming into Hawick – that’s a given – but if I’m being honest, I worry about the ambition of the project.

Watson McAteer.

Watson McAteer.

“I think that most people would have liked to see Almstrong’s knocked down to create a thoroughfare from Teviot Road to join up to Commercial Road.

“I think I would have probably preferred that. Getting the £3.6m, I’m not diminishing that at all, and we will all have different views. My concern is that it doesn’t feel ambitious enough.”

“What we have got is the result of the previous administration.”

Demolishing the existing building would provide much greater potential to increase footfall and bring trade to the High Street and other retail outlets, believes Mr McAteer, also a councillor for Hawick and Hermitage.

The Peter Scott building in Buccleuch Road, Hawick.

The Peter Scott building in Buccleuch Road, Hawick.

He also told the Hawick News that he would rather that money was spent on bringing the former Peter Scott factory, in Buccleuch Street, back to life after it closed last year.

The community council’s newly-elected chairman, Ian Turnbull, gave the plans announced now the thumbs-up, though, saying: “We have discussed the old Almstrong’s building for a couple of years now, knocking it down or making it better, and some positives have happened there, I hope.”

New chairman takes over – page 10