A £1.5m conservation area regeneration scheme for Hawick launched today, October 10, has been welcomed by the town’s six councillors.
The scheme is funded by Historic Environment Scotland, Scottish Borders Council and the South of Scotland Economic Partnership, and they have contributed £1.3m, £200,000 and £60,000 respectively to its kitty.
The buildings being prioritised for revamps are the former Glenmac mill in Teviot Crescent, 4 Round Close and four in High Street – the old KT Krafts shop at No 24, the unit home to the Beauty Lounge unit at No 26, the former Queen’s Head pub at No 32 and the erstwhile Liberal club at No 80.
Hawick and Denholm councillor Stuart Marshall said: “It’s absolutely great news for the town, it really is.
“It’s a real shot in the arm for Hawick,
“This money will now allow us to get on and regenerate a part of our town and bring some very tired buildings back to life.
“The former Glenmac mill is very close to my heart because many of my family members used to work there, so I think it will be great to see that building brought back to life, and I think the flood scheme will complement it as well.”
Fellow Hawick and Denholm councillor Clair Ramage said: “When I was first canvassing to stand as a councillor, that was one of the biggest complaints from people when I was knocking on doors, that the state of High Street needed improving.
“I lived at No 24 High Street, and that’s one of the buildings that have been identified to be re-done.
“That was 40 years ago, and it was in a poor state of repair. It must be one of the oldest buildings in Hawick.
“The buildings identified are very important to Hawick, so the whole town will benefit from this.”
The ward’s other councillor, Neil Richards, said: “This will absolutely benefit Hawick. This is a historic high street, and it’s great to be able to pinpoint various, very important buildings that should lift the whole area.
“I’m quite looking forward to the pub being renovated – that will be very useful – and I think the Glenmac Mill renovation will be an excellent project.
“All high streets have the same problem. It’s part of modern retail behaviour, so we need to think about more than just shops and more about what we can put in these places that are more than just the traditional retail experience.”
Hawick and Hermitage councillor Davie Paterson said: “I’m absolutely delighted. It is fantastic.
“Hopefully, the owners will take full advantage of this and help regenerate the town.
“I’m sure this will attract even more visitors to the town if it is upgraded like this.
“I get a number of people saying to me ‘this building needs done up, and this other building need doing up’. Well, the council and the Scottish Government are now trying to make something happen.”
Fellow Hawick and Hermitage councillor George Turnbull said: “This is a good news item for the town, and the project will certainly regenerate the town centre.
“I think people will get involved.
“I’m looking forward to the former Queen’s Head being renovated. I’ve met the owners, and there is a local connection with the town, so I wish them well with their project.
“I think it will be one of the first to be developed, and I think that will be a real flagship for others to get engaged and undertake improvements.”
The ward’s other councillor, Watson McAteer, said: “It’s fantastic news for the town. £1.5m will make a real difference.
“These old iconic buildings in the town are just that, and to bring them back to life will be fantastic.
“I’m personally looking forward to seeing places like the old Queen’s Head and the Liberal club coming back to the town and people being able to use them.
“I want to see the whole street being done up, but the Queen’s Head is an old favourite and it’s right in the middle of the town.
“I think if we start in the middle of the town and work out, then we’ll all start to see the benefit quickly.”
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Here are the six buildings being prioritised for facelifts ...