Workshop shines light on Hawick’s post-flood future

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Recreation, energy, the local economy and natural flood management were among the opportunities highlighted at a joint workshop for the Hawick Flood Protection Scheme and the Scottish Borders Climate Resilient Communities project.

Members of the public, community groups and politicians attended last month’s event in the Baptist Church’s community hub.

The workshop was held in the wake of the devastating flooding incident in the town during early December, which was one of the main topics discussed.

With experts from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in attendance, Teries reflected on their experiences of Storm Desmond and how the community was affec-
ted.

The workshop then focused on what changes people would like to see in Hawick in the future, before a presentation was given on the town’s flood protection scheme and discussions held over the opportunities it presents to deliver wider benefits for Hawick.

A number of ideas came forward from the workshop, and these included: improved walk and cycle ways to enhance the riverside experience; incorporating
nature and heritage trails along the river; improved links and signage to businesses and attractions through the town; public art and con-
siderations of aesthetics; natural flood management;
education; and renewable energy.

The next joint workshop will take place on Wednesday, March 23, with further details to follow.

The flood protection scheme is currently in its outline design phase. The workshop was held not only to get the views of residents, but also to include ideas from the community in the design of the scheme.

The flood protection scheme team is also looking to understand any concerns with the project so that issues can be resolved now, rather than later, which could lead to delays to the scheme.

The Scottish Borders Climate Resilient Communities project is one of two in the UK to be funded by the Rowntree Foundation’s climate change and communities programme.

The £100,000 Resilient Communities project is
aiming to help Scottish Borders Council work alongside local resilience commu-
nity groups, with Hawick, Newcastleton and Peebles
chosen to take part in the 16-month programme.

The council’s executive member for planning and environment, Councillor Ron Smith, told the Hawick News: “Both of these projects require public involvement and I’m delighted that this event was so well attended by the commu-
nity and local groups, with people contributing great ideas.

“These projects could not just lead to better protection from flooding, but potentially improve the lives of Hawick’s residents, so it’s crucial the public continue to engage with both initiatives, including the next workshop on March 23.”