Estimated bill for Hawick flood defences rises to £44.3m

Hawick's £44m-plus flood protection scheme is set to move a step closer to becoming a reality today, November 2.

The River Teviot running through Hawick.
The River Teviot running through Hawick.

Members of Scottish Borders Council will be asked to make a preliminary decision at their full meeting today to agree to give the go-ahead to the project to protect the town from future flooding.

Committee members will be told that of the original 48 objections to the scheme, 12 have been withdrawn following consultations, although there remains a risk of the plans going to a public inquiry.

If no inquiry proves necessary, it would be hoped to start work on the project in the early part of 2019, with completion expected at the end of 2021.

A report to the committee says: “The project team believe that they have considered all the objections robustly and provided appropriate responses and evidence to the objectors to answer their concerns, and have demonstrated that the proposed scheme is the best solution for the town, taking into account of all the constraints and objectives of the project.”

The estimated cost of the proposed River Teviot defences has risen from £40.7m to £44.3m, but the council would only have to pick up an extra £710,000 of that additional bill.

Most of that £3.5m extra cost is down to investigations having established that the wall along the south side of Commercial Road would have to be replaced completely to keep the Teviot at bay, bumping up the bill for that part of the works from £2.3m to £4.6m.

A series of public meetings have been staged to help address concerns expressed by townsfolk.

The report adds: “The most poignant moment at the event held at the town hall was when a resident from Duke Street reminded the audience in the room of the emotional and mental trauma when your home has been devastated by flooding and still remains unprotected.”

At the end of the meeting, a ballot was held, with 58 people in support of the scheme, four undecided and three against it.

The project team also had the chance to defend the work proposed at two public walks.