‘April Fool’s Day’ toilet bid is rejected in Hawick

The Moor is a popular event in the town's common riding celebrations.The Moor is a popular event in the town's common riding celebrations.
The Moor is a popular event in the town's common riding celebrations.
An ‘April Fool’s Day’ toilet bid from a Hawick heritage group for £864 has fallen foul of councillors – after it emerged the organisation had more than £200,000 in the bank.

Hawick Common Good Fund Sub-Committee yesterday, Tuesday, March 29, refused an application from Hawick Common Riding Committee to cover the extra cost of providing additional toilets on the town moor during the festival weekend in May.

Only two town councillors, Davie Paterson and Neil Richards, were on hand at the meeting to pass judgement.

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But both questioned the validity of the bid after accounts submitted with the application revealed funds of £211,038 in the organisation’s coffers.

Mr Paterson said: “When I first read this I thought it was an early April Fool’s Day. Are they serious?

“They are putting a grant in to us for toilet provision when they have got near quarter of a million pound in the bank. Are they for real? I mean, why can they not fund it themselves.

“It is unfortunate there is no-one here from the Common Riding Committee and perhaps they could have explained but why is it that the Common Good Fund is having to finance this when there are other organisations which are literally living hand to mouth, with nothing in the bank. I’m not saying I’m 100 per cent against it but I would need an explanation before I agreed it.”

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Council officer Kirsty Robb said: “First and foremost Councillor Paterson is correct, this is an organisation that does have large amounts of cash, £95,000 of which is unrestricted cash and it does seem odd for them to be requesting funds from yourselves when it looks like thy have more than enough to cover this. Other common good funds would normally turn this down on that basis. You would expect them to use their own funds first.”

Councillor Neil Richards added: “I tend to agree with Davie Paterson. They have got £211,000 and I can’t believe they can’t afford another £864. So I’m agin’ it.”

A statement submitted with the application from Hawick Common Riding said: “The funding is to cover the extra cost of toilets required over the Common Riding weekend.

“The additional toilets are required because of the removal of the existing permanent toilets on Hawick Moor, which were not fit for purpose, and the delay in replacement facilities being built.

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“This requires an additional 12 portaloos to be hired over and above the 45 normally hired. In a year when costs are already increasing, the supply of extra units will be an added cost to the committee.”