Golf club cash bid declared out of bounds

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HAWICK councillor Davie Paterson said he “nearly fell off his seat” when he saw an application to Hawick Common Good from Minto Golf Club.

And the Hawick and Hermitage member was first to propose that the bid for £15,000 be refused.

Councillor Paterson, who was backed by fellow ward councillor Ron Smith, told the Hawick News: “It’s not very often that I get excited while reading my council papers or the Hawick Common Good papers, but I have to confess that I nearly fell off my seat while reading them this time.

“We do not own the land that the golf course or the clubhouse is on, they are in the ownership of Lord Minto, so I have to ask why should we, as a Hawick Common Good Fund, be increasing the financial portfolio of a private individual?”

Minto captain Ron Elliot explained the funding was necessary to address a slight loss from last season, which was blighted by the weather.

He said they had received around £1,500 back in 1981 from the common good to help fund the new clubhouse and pointed to the 244 Hawick members they currently have at Minto.

He said: “The weather this summer has been much better and if we can get through October to December inclusive we should be in a far healthier position for the start of the 2014 season.

“During these three months our income is low but we still have our staff to pay and overheads to meet so hence our bank balance can quickly go into the red.”

It was hoped that, given the common good had recently suspended the rent of Hawick Golf Club (who are tenants on their land) for three years, that assistance could be given to Minto, who are in the process of renegotiating their own rent and a new 25-year lease.

But Councillor Paterson said: “We own the land where the (Hawick) golf club is. We did not want to be left with a golf course on our hands, with grass needing cut and facilities needing maintained.

“There was a real fear that this could have bankrupted the common good.”

Mr Elliot said the club had accepted the decision and will now look at other funding avenues.