Cash welcome but more must follow

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Also welcoming the cash boost is Andrew Farquhar, who is chairing Future Hawick’s High Street regeneration group. And speaking to the Hawick News this week, he said: “As a one-off short-term boost, this announcement is most welcome and hopefully agreement can be reached to use this funding to address some of the concerns highlighted in the responses to the recent town traders questionnaires.

Today the High Street has a 32 per cent vacancy rate and the task of reversing this trend is now daunting. The new Future Hawick is being established to face this challenge in the long term.

But Mr Farquhar is warning that much more needs to be done to reverse the decline of Hawick High Street and claims a multi-pronged attack is the only way forward.

He added: “There is no quick fix, so this funding is only the start. The aim is to progress the regeneration of the town centre by engaging with all interested parties in the community, identifying sources of funding for relevant projects and coordinating action by politicians, Scottish Borders Council, NHS Borders, housing Associations and any other relevant body.

“Success can only be achieved if Hawick demonstrates that it is a town of ambition with people of vision who believe in the future.”

While local Tory MSP John Lamont welcomes the £30,000 cash boost, he says more needs to be done: “I welcome this extra funding for Hawick High Street, but anyone can see that £30,000 isn’t going to go a very long way.

“The council has managed to find more funding for businesses in Galashiels and I have requested a meeting with the council’s chief executive to discuss extending this to Hawick.”

Councillor Ron Smith, who is part of the ruling administration at Scottish Borders Council, added: “I’m pleased to say that the council has been able to identify some one-off funding from this year’s existing budget that is now being earmarked to support town centre activity in Hawick.

“Scottish Borders Council is committed to supporting town centres to flourish across the whole of the area and is keen to work with businesses, local community groups and other interested parties to capitalise on the opportunities that exist.

Councillor Davie Paterson, environmental services portfolio holder, added: “The council has invested heavily in Hawick and other Borders towns in recent years and will continue to do so as resources are made available.”