The fight goes on for areas ‘abandoned’

Councillor Watson McAteer
Councillor Watson McAteer

Scottish Borders Council’s revised recommendations to include Hornshole in the new Hawick multi-ward do not include Denholm, Boncherster and other outlying areas.

And this has prompted Councillors Watson McAteer and Stuart Marshall to call for meetings with the boundary commissioners.

Speaking hours after the council announced plans for the inclusion of Hornshole, Mr McAteer said: “Now that Scottish Borders Council have pledged their support to Newcastleton by recommending they form part of a new Hawick and District ward, the people of Denholm, Bonchester, Chesters and the rural areas in between must justifiably feel disillusioned and abandoned.”

He added: “These communities acted quickly, making a strong logical case to retain their connection to Hawick. Theirs is arguably a more compelling case but for reasons apparently predicated on previous knowledge of how the Boundary Commission operate, Newcastleton has been selected principally because they better fit the electoral parity numbers.

“The key to all of this remains the Boundary Commission who will soon open their public consultation period between July and October. It is essential that individuals and organisations within the communities write to the commission expressing their views.

“In the meantime, Stuart Marshall and I have asked for a face-to-face meeting with the commission to put the Denholm and area case more objectively and we are seeking local MSP Paul Wheelhouse’s support to make this happen.”

Mr Marshall added: “It is vital that we continue to press the case for other outlying areas in our ward that will be affected. Both Councillor McAteer and myself are very keen to discuss this when we hopefully are granted a meeting with Mr Wheelhouse and the commission itself .”

Members of the public can write to the Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland at 91 Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh EH12 5HD.