Vandalism fears lead to old Hawick school facing demolition

The old St Margaret's RC Primary School in Hawick.
The old St Margaret's RC Primary School in Hawick.

A former school in Hawick is set to be demolished to prevent it becoming a target for vandals.

Scottish Borders Council wants to have the old St Margaret’s RC Primary School in Buccleuch Terrace flattened to avert any risk of it becoming an eyesore.

It closed last summer, with its remaining pupils switching to non-denominational schools nearby.

That decision was taken as a result of a dramatic fall in numbers of pupils attending.

Now the council wants to demolish the school, built in the 1950s, to prevent it from becoming a target for vandalism like other disused buildings in the town.

It has applied to itself for consent to bulldoze the building, and a report by officers concludes that the building adds little value to the surrounding area and is also costly to maintain.

At this stage, there are no specific plans for the future of the site, although provision of an access road to a new housing complex is one of the options on the table.

The report says: “The school roll had fallen in recent years, and it had declined to an occupancy of 14%, with no evidence of demand for places in the future.

“As the result of a consultation process, the decision was taken by the council to close the premises, and it formally closed in summer 2018 and has been vacant ever since.

“It is considered that, given its location, the building is of little or no townscape value and there are concerns that if left unoccupied, there is potential for damage and vandalism.

“This council has, in the past, had to board up all the windows of redundant buildings in the town, and this is not only unsightly but also is an ongoing cost to continually maintain.”

The report says the site could be marketed for residential use but notes there is currently very limited demand for housing plots in Hawick.

It adds: “The Peter Scott factory, adjacent to the site, closed a couple of years ago and has now been sold to a local developer, and a first phase of housing has been approved in part of the existing building.

“However, the access to the former mill site is complex as a whole is poor and there is therefore potential for the opportunity to be taken to provide a new access to the former factory site, which may act as a key to unlocking further potential.”