Review of 2015: January and February

Emma McWatters, left, Sharon Brisbane and son Kody.
Emma McWatters, left, Sharon Brisbane and son Kody.

JANUARY

Councillor Davie Paterson refutes claims he backed the Tweedbank tapestry to protect his £7,000-a-year portfolio position. He tells the Hawick News he gave the project the thumbs up after council leader David Parker threatened to withdraw funding for the Heart of Hawick.

Councillors Stuart Marshall and Watson McAteer both quit Scottish Borders Council’s ruling administration at St Boswells. “I promised to represent the people of Hawick and Denholm as an independent councillor free from political shackles and bias,” says Mr McAteer. “To stay as a member of the independent group and be expected to toe a party line would seriously restrict me in the way I am able to represent the people who elected me,” adds Stuart Marshall.

Ex-Acting Father Henry Douglas is chosen to receive a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the Queen’s New Year Honours List. The popular Common-Riding stalwart is shocked and delighted at the news.

Burnfoot parents may face eviction from their homes if they fail to control their antisocial children. This is the stark message following a multi-agency meeting called to stem a surge in bad behaviour by youths on the estate.

Retail giant Argos confirms that it is to open a branch in the Homebase store at Galalaw Retail Park.

Staff at Barrie Knitwear are on overtime until more workers can be taken on to keep up with the demand for its luxury products. “Business is busy and we would like more skilled people, many more,” reveals managing director Jim Carrie.

Prime Minister David Cameron is given a whistle-stop tour of Hawick Knitwear in Liddesdale Road. “I think there are some specific things we can do to help the textiles industry,” says Mr Cameron. “I think more effort into training and apprentices, and making sure we get behind brands like Hawick Knitwear.”

Local couple Emma McWatters and Sharon Brisbane are the first to officially wed in Hawick since Scotland’s new law on same-sex marriages came into effect.

Councillor Watson McAteer says Police Scotland’s new 101 number is not working as it should do, and that it takes far too long to be answered. He also claims that on many occasions the operator has great difficulty understanding the geography and importance or significance of the call.

FEBRUARY

Scottish Borders Council’s plans to introduce grants of £3,000 to enhance Galashiels town centre are slammed by those seeking to regenerate Hawick’s struggling High Street. Future Hawick chairman Andrew Farquhar says: “We need a clear undertaking from the council confirming that this funding will be made available to Hawick businesses.”

Indiscriminate and lengthy parking on the High Street is affecting traders on a daily basis. And several local shop owners urge police to step up efforts to eliminate rogue parking.

A Burnfoot councillor calls for a crackdown on the estate’s antisocial youngsters who, he claims, are ruining the lives of certain residents. “These youths are causing real misery,” says Stuart Marshall.

The High Street is to benefit from £30,000 of Scottish Borders Council funding. The announcement comes a week after the Hawick News highlighted SBC’s plans to offer shops in Galashiels improvement grants of £3,000 to spruce up their premises.

Plans for a £5million Aldi supermarket in Commercial Road, which would create 30 jobs, are submitted to Scottish Borders Council.

The construction of the multi-million pound Burnfoot Community Hub is on time and on budget, as the ambitious project reaches the halfway point.

Councillors Stuart Marshall and Watson McAteer take the battle against dog fouling to the top of Scottish Borders Council. The pair, who both represent Hawick and Denholm, are so incensed that they write to deputy chief executive Philip Barr demanding action.

Base nightclub owner Neil Gillies says he feels demoralised by the ruling that his premises must return to a 2am licence. Only half of the ten members of the licensing board panel turn up for what Mr Gillies said was a “very disappointing” meeting, at which the Baker Street venue’s bid to sell alcohol was turned down following a 3-2 vote.

NHS Borders chairman John Raine says there are no plans to close Hawick Community Hospital, following the local health board’s announcement that it hopes to “reduce spending on buildings”.