Call for swifter action on cauld as house buyers stear clear of erosion

HAWICK, UNITED KINGDOM. - 18 / Sept / 2012 : 'Margaret Renwick, Liddesdale Crescent'''(Photo by  Rob Gray / digitalpic / Freelance / � 2012)
HAWICK, UNITED KINGDOM. - 18 / Sept / 2012 : 'Margaret Renwick, Liddesdale Crescent'''(Photo by Rob Gray / digitalpic / Freelance / � 2012)
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A WIDOWED pensioner has become dismayed at failure to sell her house – because prospective buyers are put off by land erosion that the council has so far failed to tackle.

Margaret Renwick, 77, lives on her own in a four-bedroom £240,000 property at Liddesdale Crescent after her husband Elliot passed away in 2006.

For the last year, she has set her sights on considerably reducing mortgage payments by moving into a £100,000 flat in the town that is better suited to her needs.

Much of the land at her current residence has disappeared due to erosion caused by the adjacent River Slitrig, where a cauld – a small wall or weir – directs the water into the riverbank.

Last month, a spokesperson told the Hawick News that the council was carrying out an assessment, but homeowners in the area feel the local authority ought to act with more urgency.

“If it gets any worse than what it is, half my garden will disappear,” explained Mrs Renwick. “I put the house on the market last September, but took it off earlier this summer, in July.

“Five or six couples came to see it and they never said anything about the river directly, but I felt I couldn’t sell the house and not say anything about the problem of the banking.

“The folk who came to see it liked it, but I think the river put them off. One couple especially seemed quite interested, but it was a feeling that I got to myself [that they were put off by the erosion].

The council has commissioned a study of the issue, the results of which are due to be published by the end of this month.

Mrs Renwick, who took steps to rectify the problem herself after moving into her house ten years ago, is one of a number of householders who may have to make a contribution towards a £25,000 bill for repairs required on five properties along the riverbank. Once the issue is resolved, she plans to put her house back on the market and move.

“I moved here in October 2002 and had willows put in because the root was bulbous and it would hold the banking,” she explained. “Unfortunately, it hasn’t made that much difference.

“Elliot died six years ago, and now I’m in a big house with four bedrooms and two public rooms. I went to see a flat in The Exchange, but then I couldn’t sell my own house.

“I think I’ve got my head round it now.”