Plans drawn up to demolish former department store in Hawick to make way for business centre

The old Almstrong's department store building in Oliver Crescent, Hawick.
The old Almstrong's department store building in Oliver Crescent, Hawick.

Plans have been drawn up for the demolition of an old department store and church in Hawick to make way for a new business centre.

It is proposed that the former Almstrong’s department store building in Oliver Crescent and two old church buildings in adjoining Teviot Crescent are bulldozed to allow the site to be redeveloped.

How the new business centre planned for the old Almstrong's department store site in Hawick would look.

How the new business centre planned for the old Almstrong's department store site in Hawick would look.

A new three-storey building would be created, providing office space for up to 17 small businesses, potentially yielding up to 25 jobs.

The £2.6m project is one of four being paid for by Scottish Government funding of £3.6m for Hawick announced in June 2017 following the launch of an action plan by Scottish Borders Council, businesses and community groups.

Mid Berwicksire councillor Mark Rowley, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for business and economic development, said: “Redeveloping this site has multiple benefits for Hawick.

“It will clear an area of disused buildings in disrepair, provide new small office units for existing local businesses and entrepreneurs and it will hopefully act as a catalyst for further property redevelopment and investment in the town from the private sector.

“Thanks to local architect Aitken Turnbull, a contemporary building will be created which fits in with its surroundings and also delivers an attractive public space and pedestrian access through from the heart of the town to the Wee Haugh and onto Commercial Road.

“A significant amount of work has already taken place on this proposal, and I am delighted that we are now in a position to put the plans forward for consideration and look forward to the next stage in this vital development for Hawick.”

The Scottish Government funding for Hawick has also been spent on building four industrial units at Galalaw Business Park, and they are now almost finished.

The council is upgrading business facilities at the town’s Tower Mill and undertaking feasibility studies for the regeneration of other key properties in the town too.

Before becoming a shop, the Oliver Crescent site was home to St John’s Church, opened in 1880, with a next-door hall added in 1885.

It merged with with St Andrew’s and Eastbank churches to form the town’s trinity kirk in 1958.

The building was then sold and partially demolished in 1960, reopening as Arthur Armstrong’s department store in 1962, later renamed Almstrong’s.

The former kirk and hall are currently listed on the buildings at risk register for Scotland on account of the crypt that lies beneath them.