Turnbull’s ultimatum for market operator

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Market operator Geraud (UK) will have its contract terminated unless it submits a “revised business plan”.

That was the blunt message delivered by Hawick Common Good Fund chairman George Turnbull at last Tuesday’s meeting, which also heard Councillor Davie Paterson criticise his fellow members for supporting the Geraud application in the first place.

The Liverpool-based firm, which manages 55 markets in the UK, took over the Common Haugh site in September, and the Hawick News reported two weeks ago on concerns over the small number of stallholders on site.

Mr Paterson told the meeting: “I really don’t know what you councillors were thinking about when you voted this [the Geraud bid] through.

“I’m astonished to be honest with you. The market is an absolute joke now. I’m sorry but it’s totally unacceptable. Enough is enough, Geraud are making complete neds out of us, and I’m not prepared to put up with it any longer.”

Councillor Watson McAteer said: “The coucillors who voted for Geraud did so on the basis that we were offered a proposition. That proposition has not materialised, in which case we should exercise our right to move on. It’s as simple as that.”

Common Good chairman George Turnbull said: “I think a very stiff letter needs to be sent to Geraud, saying we need a timeline for their revised business plan. And to put the warning shot across the bows that if it isn’t forthcoming, we will terminate their contract, make no mistake about it.”

James Morrison, Scottish Borders Council’s estates surveyor, said Geraud area manager Craig Taylor told him that the market would be “much improved” over the comming months. Mr Morrison did, however, concede that Mr Taylor “talked a good story”.