New calls for town centre manager

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Calls were renewed this week for Hawick to have its own town centre manager to drive forward future regeneration plans.

And Derick Tait, the chairman of Future Hawick, says it’s essential that cash is made available to fund the post if his group is to succeed.

A tourism destination audit, commissioned earlier this year by Scottish Borders Council, drew parallels between Hawick and Galashiels and highlighted the need, among other things, for the regeneration of both town centres.

Last year we broke the news that Galashiels was to recieve a council-funded £70,000 town co-ordinator and SBC responded by offering £30,000 to Future Hawick.

Speaking this week, Mr Tait said: “Such a position is essential to drive Hawick forward but SBC say they do not have the funds to commit as they have done with Gala.”

And joining the call are Councillor Watson McAteer and the man who started the High Street regeneration, Andrew Farquhar.

Speaking this week, Councillor McAteer said: “The recent joint tourism destination audit commissioned by Midlothian and Scottish Borders Council properly highlighted the need for substantial improvement to Galashiels and Hawick town centres.

“However, when you examine how SBC is currently addressing this recommendation you quickly realise that there is no level playing field.

“Future Hawick trustees have picked up the challenge to regenerate our High Street and while they are doing a great job, they have struggled to fully access the £30,000 promised by the council. The trustees are making a fantastic effort to bring about much-needed change but as volunteers they are all limited in the amount of time and effort they are able to make to achieve this.

“The appointment of a full-time co-ordinator, on a par with Galashiels, would enable structured and rapid progress towards
delivering the Future Hawick strategy and objectives.

“SBC must place Hawick on a level footing with Galashiels and the appointment of a town centre coordinator should be seen as an essential if Hawick is to fully develop.

Mr Farquar added: “Clearly funding is an issue but this is not impossible. I don’t think there is any doubt that to progress much of what is being planned we need some form of dedicated co-ordination otherwise progress is going to be slow.”

Scottish Borders Council was unable to provide a response as we went to press.