Souters in caravan park takeover bid

Souters angry over the continuing issue of members of the travelling community blocking what they see as a potential tourism goldmine are planning a takeover bid.

Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 11:41 am
Councillor Caroline Cochrane wants the Selkirk community to take back the Victoria Park caravan site and pool, to bring it up to spec for tourists.

Another heated debate sprung up at Monday night’s virtual meeting of Selkirk Community Council over the continued presence of travellers at the Victoria Park campsite in the town.

Members of the public were present yet again to find out why the campsite was not now able to take bookings from tourists, with some saying they had either expected the travellers to move on by now, given the relaxation of restrictions due to Covid-19, or at least that the travellers would be asked to pay to stay.

However, it was revealed that one extended family wish to stay on, as five of their children are attending school in the town, and that travellers could not be asked to pay because the facilities were not up to standard, nor were they Covid-19 compliant.

And Selkirkshire councillor Gordon Edgar told the meeting that improvements to get it up to scratch would be too expensive, and not likely to be done any time soon.

His fellow councillor Caroline Cochrane, who has been pushing to get caravan tourists back into the town for months, said that enough was enough.

She said: “For months we come on here and this is what we talk about ... the caravan park.

"Being a businesswoman myself, I can see why we need to get it back open again.

"We’re doing really well in the town, with diverse businesses opening, but what we need now is to get the tourists here.

“We should look into taking the site back into trust, in the same way the Jedburgh community did with their pool, and run it ourselves.

"It would mean we are supporting our own businesses by attracting tourists to come, and we can go for grant funding, such as from the lottery, to bring the site up to scratch.

"Take it back, make it work.

"We need to make it an A-class caravan site for the Borders … if they can do it in other towns we can do it here.”

Chairman Alistair Pattullo said it was a great idea.

He said: “We need to have a proper meeting about this, get together with the community council, Scottish Borders Council, our MSP and MP, and discuss how we can take this forward.”