‘Battle’ over Hornshole boundary

Councillors Marshall and McAteer at Hornshole
Councillors Marshall and McAteer at Hornshole

Hornshole will become part of a new Jedburgh superward when changes to council boundaries are implemented at the local elections in 2017.

The Hawick News can reveal that the proposals, which are considered by many to be a “done deal”, will not only see the town lose two of its current quota of six councillors, but would also mean the site synonymous with Hawick Common-Riding and its 501-year history will join Jedburgh and St Boswells in the new ward.

And this week there was no shortage of high-profile figures lining up to slam the plans.

Callants Club president and Common-Riding secretary Frank Scott branded the move “disgraceful” and said that the Callants Club have written a letter of objection
to the Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland.

He added: “Five hundred years ago the folk of Hawick were able to look their enemy in the face but now this battle is being fought against invisible bureaucrats who haven’t got a clue. It is disgraceful and not only has implications for Hornshole but also for the Honorary Provost’s Council which will be reduced to eight members.”

And when the Hawick News informed local historian and raconteur Ian Landles of the move, he said: “We will have to get the callants roused and march down the river, throw down the bows and arrows, draw the swords, and fight this challenge.

“This is the prime historical site as far as our Common-Riding is concerned. It’s who we are, it’s what we are about. Aye Defend and Lest we Forget. Well we won’t be forgetting or standing by to see our history sold down the river.”

Joining the condemnation of boundary change proposals this week is the town’s honorary provost, Stuart Marshall, who said: “I call on townsfolk to rally and fiercely resist these stupid ideas being put forward by the Boundaries Commission.

“Last year our town united to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the events that took place at Hornshole and here we are one year down the road being faced with the prospect of this sacred and historical site being discarded into another part of the Scottish Borders . It is a perfect disgrace to the memory of those who fought and died for our town.”

“I strongly urge every person, club and organisation in the town to stand up and be counted by writing to the Boundaries Commission when these proposals come out for public consultation later this summer.”

Councillor Watson McAteer added: “It’s incredible that such an important part of Hawick’s history can be wiped away by the sweep of a bureaucratic pen.

“To interfere with Hornshole is an act of sheer folly. It is vitally important that the voice of Hawick is heard loud and clear and that common sense prevails.”

Readers can write to the Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland at Thistle House, 91 Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh EH12 5HD or at www.lbgc-scotland.gov.uk