Hawick Community Council ballot cancelled as new members are named

Cameron Knox will serve on the new Hawick Community Council.
Cameron Knox will serve on the new Hawick Community Council.

Hawick’s new community council has been named this week after a planned ballot was scrapped due to one of the contenders pulling out.

Townsfolk had been told they would need to vote in their 15 new community councillors at the end of this month, but after one name was withdrawn from the previous list of 16 candidates, there’s now no need for that, so the voluntary committee’s latest incarnation has been created without a vote.

Marion Short is returning to the committee.

Marion Short is returning to the committee.

From the previous council, forced into a period of abeyance last month by a string of resignations, former vice-chairman Cameron Knox and members Duncan Taylor, John Wilkinson, Drew Dickson, French Wight and Wilson George put their names forward and will return as part of the new-look committee.

Also returning is Brian Bouglas, who joined in February and did not quit alongside its other new members.

Marion Short, who left the council in 2017 after a six-year stint which included five years as chairwoman, is also back on board.

And making the numbers up to 15 are new faces Braden George, Catriona Young, Keith Irving, James Adams, John Campbell, Margaret Hogg and William Wear.

The committee last met in June, when a heated exchange took place between councillors and townsfolk over a dispute surrounding a gift to Hawick Cornet Connor Brunton and his lass Victoria Campbell a week earlier during the common riding.

There was no meeting in July, as that’s traditionally when the council takes a summer break, and August’s scrapped meeting saw the community council fold pending an election already scheduled to take place this month.

The officially folding of the council came about after chairwoman Gillian Morgan resigned from her position due to personal reasons and secretary Pauline Tottman followed suit days later, claiming her tenure had been blighted by harassment and abuse.

Both women took up their positions on the community council following a by-election in January and were re-elected to their roles at the annual general meeting in May.

Their resignations were accompanied by those of Mrs Tottman’s husband Lee, Maureen Lumsden and Andy Maybury .

Days later, in the face of mounting opposition, acting chairman Graham Marshall and treasurer Keith Morgan, husband of Gillian, also quit.

That left less than the seven members required for the town council to continue to function, so it went into abeyance at its planned August meeting.

Nominations were invited and townsfolk were publicly urged by the remaining members to come forward and ensure the council could reform.

A total of 16 names were announced and a ballot date set.

However, with the withdrawal yesterday of Greg McLeod’s name from the running, that brought the numbers down to 15 so there is now no need for an election.

Mr McLeod was previously a community councillor, joining in 2015 and serving until his resignation in May last year.

He resigned from both the community council and Hawick Common Riding Committee then, citing “private and personal reasons” for his decision.

A council spokesman said: “Originally, 16 candidates had come forward for the 15 places, which would have seen a ballot take place in the town.

“However, following the withdrawal of a nomination, the community council now has the required number of members.

“Details of the first meeting will be announced in due course.”

Office-bearers will be elected by members at the fnew council’s first meeting, and members of the public will be welcome to attend.