Ten-year stay of execution for TLC

IT has been confirmed that the Teviotdale Leisure Centre will not be closing, and is in safe hands for the next 10 years and beyond.

Scottish Borders Council has announced a brand new strategy this week which not only protects the future of every swimming pool in the region, but includes proposals to improve existing facilities – and has even chosen Hawick as one of the ‘hubs’ for new community sport and leisure plans.

The good news comes nine months after the council spent £30,000 commissioning a report by consultants Kit Campbell Associates which claimed the “biggest single saving” would come from closing the Hawick pool, and asserted that SBC should consider closing the Selkirk pool – leading to a major public backlash and uproar in Hawick, which saw more than 800 angry townsfolk attend a meeting in the town hall.

Local Councillor Jock Houston, a director of the Borders Sport and Leisure Trust which runs the Teviotdale Leisure Centre, told the Hawick News: “I attended the one-day conference at Netherdale in March and am delighted that Hawick has been chosen as one of the hubs for new community sport and leisure plans.

“I am even more delighted that the powers-that-be have listened to the Hawick people who attended a packed meeting about the report and sent a clear signal, ‘hands off our leisure centre’.

“Under the proposals which will be voted on in August, the centre is safe for the next 10 years, which is about as far ahead as one can look.”

The project has been led by the new Borders’ Physical Activity, Sport and Physical Education (PASPE) group, bringing together representatives from a wide variety of partners, including Scottish Borders Council (SBC), NHS Borders, SportBorders, Volunteer Centre Borders, Border Sport and Leisure Trust, Borders College and Sportscotland.

Councillor Graham Garvie, the PASPE Chairman and SBC’s Executive Member for Sport, Culture and Community Learning stated: “The process has been in-depth and exhaustive, as it was important for all the partners involved, and most importantly the Borders public, that we left no stone unturned in striving to create a new sports facilities strategy that truly reflects what the Borders needs and wants.”

Thrilled that people power has helped save the Hawick pool, Ewan Jackson, BSLT Chief Executive Officer, told the Hawick News: “After a lot of work we have a good result here, with a facilities strategy going forward to council which makes clear the importance of swimming pools and leisure centres at the heart of our communities.

“The strategy conference in March was a great event and had terrific input from Hawick clubs and individuals who share our passion for developing and improving the facilities around the town as part of the wider sports strategy.”

Mr Jackson added: “That input was of tremendous help in shaping this new strategy and at the heart of it going forward will be the desire to create a strong community sports hub in Hawick with all sport and leisure interests working together through the next decade and beyond.”