Concern growing that cafe might not open until April

Hawick councillors Watson MacAteer and Stuart Marshall raise concerns about the new Hawick cafe in Wilton Park not being finished on time.
Hawick councillors Watson MacAteer and Stuart Marshall raise concerns about the new Hawick cafe in Wilton Park not being finished on time.

Hawick’s Wilton Lodge Park cafe, originally scheduled to open in April this year, now looks set to remain closed until April next year.

The opening of the £300,000 cafe, built as part of a £3.6m revamp of the park, has been hit by a series of delays, with its launch date most recently being set for next month.

However, Hawick and Denholm councillor Stuart Marshall fears even that date, seven months behind schedule, now looks optimistic, saying: “I have this week written to the project manager of the cafe seeking reassurances that the latest rumours that are doing the rounds aren’t true.

“Over the past few days, I have been informed on several occasions that the opening date for the cafe would be April 2018.

“The project manager is currently trying to seek clarification, but if these rumours are to be believed, then it would certainly cause further outrage within the town regarding this entire fiasco.”

Members of Hawick Community Council voiced concern over the ongoing delays at their meeting last month, agreeing that a stakeholders’ meeting was overdue.

And community councillor French Wight told this week’s meeting:“We seem to be in the dark now, and we don’t know what is happening up there.”

Hawick and Hermitage councillor Watson McAteer agreed, saying: “A stakeholders’ meeting has been asked for, and I think on the back of tonight, it’s a good push, and this is a reminder that if we ask them again, then we can demand it. We will demand it.”

He also warned: “I have been told that Scottish Borders Council are dealing with this. However, having received no confirmed date for a meeting I have again shared the frustration of the community council and Hawick councillors and have requested the meeting take place as soon as possible.

“If there is continued reluctance, then I will arrange a public meeting and invite the entire Hawick community to attend.”

Greg McLeod, a member of the community council, added: “I spoke to a council officer who was saying that he visited the cafe when it was raining and there were 10 joints leaking.”

Mr Marshall has also now fielded questions with Scottish Borders Council over faulty guttering around the building.

The cafe is to be run by West Yorkshire-based firm Caterleisure.

A Scottish Borders Council spokesperson said: “We continue to engage with Caterleisure to finalise the remaining matters and believe that the suggestion that the facility will not open until April is without foundation.

“The plans from Caterleisure to provide an enhanced service from the café are now at a well-developed stage with the planning permission and building warrant nearing conclusion.

“Once these elements are complete a detailed delivery plan and opening date can be provided.”