Caravan park bid gathers momentum

Plans for a caravan park in Hawick are back on the table after renewed interest in the grassy area next to the Walled Garden.

And it has been confirmed that a closing date of later this month has been set for any offers to develop the a site.

The area is advertised on Scottish Borders Council’s website as a “touring caravan and camping site”, the proposal being: “To develop a 90-pitch caravan site at the location currently utilised as a sports/playing pitch and training area. Proposal should include amenity, service and reception facilities, operating on a year-round basis.”

And a spokesperson for the local authority says more than one interested party has come forward. “We can confirm there have been expressions of interest in land identified at Wilton Lodge Park as a proposed touring caravan and camping site,” he told us.

The council has set a final date of Tuesday, March 24, for any offers to take on the tourism bid. And in a further expression of SBC’s intention to add to the current regeneration of Wilton Lodge Park, the spokesperson added: “We can also confirm that dialogue has taken place between officers and local rugby teams regarding the land, and these discussions will continue.”

A proposal for a site at the park was previously mooted in early 2009, with representatives of the Camping and Caravanning Club impressed by the location. All six councillors at that time backed the idea. Research into costs relating to access, signposting and car parking facilities were also investigated by the council. And later that year, SBC agreed to grant the Camping and Caravanning Club a 100-year lease on the land, currently home to Hawick Harlequins RFC.

But nothing more has come of it until now, and Councillor Stuart Marshall is thrilled by the latest development. “The prospect of a caravan park in the town will be a shot in the arm, especially when we’re trying to attract more tourists to the area,” he stated.

“There will be hurdles and some of these will be the need for consultation, particularly around access, neighbours and sporting clubs. But I think a professionally-run caravan park will complement the current investment at the park.”

Councillor Watson McAteer added: “News that a caravan park may be developed will bring a welcome boost to townsfolk and traders. The prospect of attracting visitors when regeneration of our High Street is a top priority, and with the park being refurbished, could not be better. I know there will be issues regarding access and disruption, but with planning and consultation I’m sure these can be managed to everyone’s satisfaction.”