PLANS for a £5million regeneration of Stonefield took a huge step forward this week.
A legal transfer of all the empty properties was signed between Scottish Borders Housing Association and Waverley Housing.
Refurbishment work in the existing blocks of flats is currently under way, while it is hoped 11 empty blocks in the scheme will be demolished by early autumn 2013.
This will make way for the building of 44 new family-sized affordable homes.
Julia Mulloy, chief executive of SBHA, told the Hawick News this week: “We are excited to now be able to progress our plans to help make a real difference for the people living in Stonefield.
“This innovative solution enables the creation of separate ownership of blocks and paves the way for the phased regeneration work to transform the community to begin in earnest.”
The area has previously suffered from social problems and a declining number of residents.
Hawick and Hermitage councillor David Paterson, who sits on the SBHA board, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that this is happening. There are big plans for Stonefield and it is going to be a great scheme once completed.”
The government’s seal of approval on the project was given almost exactly 12 months ago and will see the empty houses transferred between SBHA and Waverley, allowing completed blocks to have separate ownership. Scottish Borders Council and the local community have also been heavily involved in the plans.
Margaret Ross, chief executive of Waverley, said: “This marks the start of an exciting new future for residents of Stonefield, transforming their homes and the community for the better.”
Residents will be consulted on the details of the new development at a community event, which has been scheduled for early in the New Year.
And it is hoped they will play an active part in proceedings.
Mrs Ross added: “We plan to involve tenants and residents throughout the programme and ensure that they are effectively communicated with, and any concerns are allayed.
“We will form a joint residents’ group in the area who will be consulted on the works and be part of the regeneration process which will enable residents to make decisions about the community in which they live.”