Review of 2015: July to October

Callum Murray and Finn Froud finish their 100 miles in 100 days challenge
Callum Murray and Finn Froud finish their 100 miles in 100 days challenge

July

Scottish Borders Council could be about to scrap the bus service to Denholm, Jedburgh and Kelso – forcing passengers into 40-mile detours. And unless SBC comes up with the cash to continue subsidising the route, travellers making for Jedburgh could now face the extended journey via Galashiels from mid-August.

Teviotdale Leisure Centre risks patrons shunning the facility due to the pool being cold and poor service from the cafe. That’s the warning from Councillor Stuart Marshall who is concered that these issues are not being addressed by the operator, Borders Sport and Leisure Trust.

The Burnfoot Carnival is blessed with good weather and a large and appreciative crowd. “It was a wonderful day and everyone had a good time,” says event organiser Jamie Batten.

If the bid to bring Aldi to Commercial Road doesn’t get council planning permission, it is giving the message that Hawick is effectively “closed for business”. So says Councillor Watson McAteer who claims repeated delays are giving the wrong impression to potential developers.

Calls are renewed for Hawick to have its own town-centre manager to drive forward future regeneration plans. 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.

Police are called to Burnfoot estate 88 times in June, but only two incidents are youth-related. This is a far cry from a few months ago when officers were dealing with antisocial youth problems on a daily basis.

Burnfoot mum Leighann Rowely enlists the help of local community leaders in her bid to have a children’s play park built in Henderson Road.

Commercial Road could soon be home to a £10million whisky distillery – providing the town with a huge retail and tourism boost. The Three Stills Company plans to build the first distillery in the Borders in the former Turnbull & Scott premises.

The Hawick News lodges a Freedom of Information request with the police to obtain figures relating to the town’s new CCTV system. Police refuse to answer questions on how often they have viewed the new cameras and how many charges and arrests have followed since the £12,000 system was installed in May.

August

High school rector Kevin McClory welcomes “significantly improved” exam results and says the best ever Advanced Higher figures are down to the hard work of pupils and staff.

Councillor Stuart Marshall calls for crash barriers to be installed in a Burnfoot street after several near misses involving runaway cars. Mr Marshall says that cars being parked in the vicinity of the Co-op in Kenilworth Avenue and drivers failing to put on handbrakes has resulted in vehicles rolling back, mounting the grass and, at times, hitting a tree.

Councillor Ron Smith urges police to make use of the town’s new CCTV system in a bid to beat the vandals. “We [his fellow ward councillors Davie Paterson and George Turnbull] would strongly ask the police to take this CCTV system seriously and we would feel let down if they did not do so,” says Mr Smith.

Community Councillor French Wight cuts the ribbon to officially open the £30,000 Williestruther project. The revamp includes a boardwalk around the circumference of the loch, a shelter, picnic tables, benches, an information board, and new boundary fencing.

More than half the crimes committed in Hawick are going unsolved and many reported incidents are not followed up. Crimes go through a screening process, Response sergeant Mark Cranston tells Teviot and Liddesdale Area Forum, and if there are no witnesses, CCTV or corroborating evidence, the reports are shelved and may not be looked at for a week.

Local firefighters are to be trained to respond to medical emergencies in a bid to support the local ambulance service and improve survival rates.

Cousins Callum Murray and Finn Froud raise £26,000 for kids suffering from cancer after completing their 100 miles in 100 days challenge. Over the past three months, Callum in Hawick and Finn in Doha, Qatar, have run a mile every day alongside friends, family and local clubs and organisations. The pair are joined by hundreds of fellow runners and well-wishers in Wilton Lodge Park to complete their final mile.

September

A police inspector severely criticises Scottish Borders Council over its handling of Hawick’s new CCTV system. Inspector Carol Wood reveals that police were never consulted over the installation and positioning of the cameras, and despite being told by SBC on August 3 that the cameras were “up and running”, they were not fully operational until August 17. The council says it is confident that any “miscommunication” will be addressed.

The first phase of the new £10million Stonefield housing development will be completed with tenants in their new homes by the end of the year.

Hawick’s once popular Saturday market could be set for a new lease of life with the news that one of the country’s leading operators, Geraud UK Ltd, is about to take on the lease.

Police Scotland drop their monthly crime reports at public meetings, a few weeks after the Hawick News revealed plummeting crime solvency rates. “I am extremely unhappy about this,” says Councillor and former top police officer, Watson McAteer.

Burnfoot knitwear manufacturer Scott & Charters is taken over by high-end London-based clothing company, WRA Group Ltd, in what the mill’s managing director, Robert Charters, describes as a “very positive move” for the company.

Hawick looks set to have a £1million state-of-the-art all-weather sports pitch at Volunteer Park by the end of next year. The project is being driven by the Hawick Sports Initiative and Bill McLaren Park Ltd and is hailed as a further boost for the town.

Councillor Watson McAteer is told he’ll have to submit a Freedom of Information request to obtain crime solvency figures for Hawick.

Teries come out in their droves to support a charity’s bid to help refugees from Syria, Iraq and other countries. CalAid Hawick volunteers Vanessa Reith and Yasmin Sonkur, both 23, are on hand at the Catholic hall to accept what Teries have to offer to help ease the refugees’ plight.

Future Hawick lands a £2,000 grant to bus train passengers from Tweedbank to Hawick in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Hawick Saxhorn Band’s longest-serving member, Bill Baptie, retires after more than seven decades of service.

Scottish Borders Council asks Howegate residents to shop fly-tippers who are blighting the area.

October

Hawick could be in line for a £1million waste project windfall thanks to supermarket giant Sainsbury’s. Towns across the country are being invited to bid for the £1million supermarket cash which would be used to develop a community waste and recycling project.

The town’s fire chief warns youngsters of the dangers of playing in derelict mills. Station Commander Russell Bell says it’s not only children who are putting their own lives at risk, but his firefighters are also in danger if an incident takes place in an old building.

A Hawick councillor slams Scottish Water for failing to tackle repeated raw sewage incidents at Wilton Hill. One shop owner has to disinfect customers’ feet and mop his store as they leave for fear of contamination. And children have to dodge excrement sprayed by passing cars on their way to school.

Hawick councillors Watson McAteer and Stuart Marshall investigate the possibility of installing CCTV in the Common Haugh to thwart ongoing problems with boy racers.

The £2.4million Burnfoot Hub opens its doors to the public, and manager Robert Duff is confident that estate residents will embrace the facility. “This is all very exciting,” he says. “We have been busy and everyone who visited had a good time.”

Hawick councillors Stuart Marshall and Watson McAteer bid to secure the future of the historic Hornshole site by having Hawick Common Good Fund claim ownership.

St Andrew’s Care Home is served a formal improvement notice by the Care Inspectorate and must make urgent improvements in the care provided to elderly and vulnerable residents.

Knitwear firm Peter Scott is set to pay off 20 workers, almost a third of its workforce, blaming “lower than expected turnover and tough trading conditions”.

Hawick’s 42-year town twinning relationship with Bailleul appears to be coming to an end after efforts failed to redkindle interest.

Councillor Davie Paterson concedes that the state of the grass on the Mote is disgraceful. “I have been assured that the contractor will cut it either at the end of this week or next week at the latest,” he says.