Council moves to quell park facility concerns

The putting green will be back in operation next year
The putting green will be back in operation next year

Scottish Borders Council says it understands the frustrations of townsfolk over the closure of Wilton Lodge Park’s summer cafe.

The council was responding to a deluge of Facebook criticism at the weekend and is promising that the multi-million pound park revamp will be worth the wait.

Ex-Cornet Greg McLeod kicked the Facebook comments off on Sunday when he posted: “This is an absolute disgrace, July 12 and no putting, crazy golf, bouncy castle or bowls available . . . the cafe closed almost a year ago and I don’t believe that the toilets can’t be used and an ice cream van who could rent out the clubs could not be positioned outside the cafe and the grass cut for the putting . . . this needs sorting now.”

And Campbell and Dot Anderson added: “It’s terrible, the cafe could be open as they have not started on the new one.”

Sandra Brady commented: “I walk up the park every week and I am shocked at the lack of forward planning for Hawick. It’s embarrassing.” Before Steven Patterson said: “This town is falling to bits around us.”

And a clearly annoyed Paul Linton wrote: “Councillors want to get a grip . . . there seems to be plenty who want their faces known but will do little for the town . . . starting work at the cafe would have made more sense . . . the Romans built an empire quicker.”

However, SBC responded by saying: “The £3.64million Wilton Lodge Park regeneration project will improve the overall quality and standard of the current facilities for Hawick residents and visitors of all ages for the long term.

“While the regeneration project is still ongoing, a number of events have been held in the park for families. Performances at the Elliot Bandstand have attracted crowds of between 100 and 120 each time, while each workshop at the bandstand has attracted over 20 musicians.

“While we understand the frustration of park users regarding the closure of the café, this is to allow a brand new facility to be built in time for next summer. The demolition of the existing cafe is due to begin in the coming weeks, with construction of the new facility scheduled to start in the autumn.

“Attempts to attract a mobile catering van for this summer proved unsuccessful.

“The putting green was previously operated from the cafe and as a result is not open this summer, but will be available for use next year.

“Among the other facilities being provided by the regene-ration project is the creation of a new play park, which will open in 2016 and, in addition,
the museum has a new gallery funded through the
project.”