Views being sought on return of Jim Clark Rally to roads in Borders

Views are being sought on plans to bring the Jim Clark Rally back to the central Borders at the end of May.

Friday, 24th January 2020, 12:33 pm
Updated Friday, 24th January 2020, 12:48 pm
2012's Jim Clark Rally heading through Duns.

Scottish Borders Council has now launched a public consultation on the proposed expansion of the revived rally further west than previously, including a stage taking in Scott’s View at Bemersyde.

That exercise has been prompted by the event’s organiser, the Jim Clark Memorial Motor Club, applying for a motor sport order.

The council is required by law to consider any potential impacts on communities and businesses before making a decision on whether to grant that order or not, and it also has to consult the public about the planning and execution of the event.

Comments on the rally’s return, following its comeback in November in scaled-down form after a five-year absence, can be left at www.scotborders.gov.uk/jcrsurvey until Sunday, March 8.

Community councillors and other residents will also have the opportunity to learn more about the rally, estimated to generate £2.5m-plus a year for the regional economy, and have their say on it at upcoming meetings of the council’s Berwickshire, Cheviot and Eildon area partnerships.

Draft stage plans and a proposed schedule can be viewed at www.scotborders.gov.uk/jimclarkrallyGalashiels councillor Euan Jardine, the council’s executive member for culture and sport, said: “Following the successful return of this major sporting event to closed roads last November, it is fantastic that the organiser has been able to provide such detailed proposals already for the rally to take place at its more traditional time of year.

“The Jim Clark Rally is one of many sporting events in the Borders that bring competitors and visitors from across the world to our area, and the council continues to do all it can to support these due to the positive impact they have on our economy.”

Mid Berwickshire councillor Mark Rowley, the authority’s executive member for business and economic development, added: “I am delighted that the rally organiser has taken the opportunity provided by the recent legislation to expand the Jim Clark Rally and showcase even more of the exceptional Borders.

“The proposed route for this year’s event would take it to the Berwickshire coast and right into the central Scottish Borders and, we hope, increase its already-significant economic benefit.

“I’d encourage anyone with an interest, particularly those on the proposed routes and local businesses, to take part in the consultation as this will not only help the council to determine the application for the motor sport order but also assist in ongoing discussions with the event organiser.”

The rally, held in memory of the Berwickshire farmer and racing driver it is named after, was held annually from 1996 onwards but was forced to take five years off after three spectators were killed by an accident near Swinton at 2014’s event.

2020’s rally is lined up to take place over the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, May 30 and May 31, with the intention of going further west than before, into Cheviot and Eildon.

The proposed first stage is around Westruther, the second stage is from Redpath to Scott’s View and Clintmains, with stage three at Eccles, followed by a repeat of the Westruther and Scott’s View stages and onto Eccles and two further stages at Longformacus.

Sunday’s racing will be at Edrom, Ayton and Whitsome.

It is also intended to stage a trial run for competitors on Friday, May 29, south of Mellerstain Mill, near Smailholm.