Boundary axe to fall on Hornshole

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

Hornshole and Denholm will form part of the Jedburgh super-ward in two years’ time after four of Hawick’s six councillors backed Scottish Borders Council recommendations.

And at the local elections in 2017, Hawick will have its number of councillors cut by a third from six to four.

Despite a motion from Councillor Ron Smith at yesterday’s meeting at St Boswells, which was backed by Councillor Davie Paterson, asking for a review of the Boundary Commission’s proposals which he claimed ran “counter to the commission’s own guidelines on breaking local ties and easily identifiable boundaries”, the pair ultimately, joined by Councillors George Turnbull and Alastair Cranston, voted to annex Hornshole and Denholm from the town.

Making passionate pleas for the retention of Hornshole and Denholm, Councillor Watson McAteer, backed by councillor and provost Stuart Marshall, launched a second motion which would have included the ancient historic site as well as the village of Denholm but would have seen Newcastleton join the Jedburgh ward.

So, with proposals on the table from Scottish Borders Council, Councillor Ron Smith and Councillor McAteer the two area member’s amendments went head to head in a vote which saw councillors Paterson and Cranston back Councillor Smith’s proposal.

However, with the backing of three Kelso members, Lib Dem Alec Nichol and Tory pair Simon Mountford and Tom Weatherston, it was Mr McAteer’s amendment which went head to head with the council’s recommendations to back the reduction of two councillors in Hawick and to jettison Denholm and Hornshole.”

And at this point, Councillors Smith and Paterson were joined by Councillors Turnbull and Cranston to back the SBC recommendations.

This has left councillors McAteer and Stuart fuming.

In a statement to the Hawick News Councillors Marshall and McAteer said: “Unless the weight of public opinion can force the commission to change their minds then our historic and non-negotiable Hornshole site together with Denholm, Bonchester and Chesters, will become part of a Jedburgh super-ward.

“We are dismayed that the other four councillors, including our fellow ward councillor, did not get behind the call to save Hornshole either by supporting our motion or by ensuring that the recommendation they did support contained a committed safeguard.

Councillor George Turnbull said: “This is not a physical boundary but an electoral boundary change. This will not stop the things that already happen at Hornshole from happening in the future.”