Council pledges support for cafe

The Tower Mill Cafe
The Tower Mill Cafe

Scottish Borders Council has given assurances over the future of the Tower Mill Cafe after it was criticised at Tuesday’s Area Forum meeting.

Councillor Stuart Marshall raised concerns that the building was being underused, was operating on restricted opening hours and that the chip-and-pin facility that he was told would be installed weeks ago was still not in place.

“I would like to be brought up to speed on this. This building is the heart of the town and councillors need to be told what is going on here.

“There is still no chip-and-pin facility, it’s cash only, and it’s been like that for weeks now.

“And the upstairs area has remained closed since the council took over.”

Responding to several questions from the Hawick News, council communications boss Mark Wilson said: “The chip-and-pin issue has now been resolved. We are aware that cash-only transactions was a big issue for people and that we have lost business. It should have been resolved before now.

“We want this to be a better place for local people and visitors and we are working hard to achieve this. We see the potential of this facility and recognise its importance to the town.

And responding to the continued upper level closure, Mr Wilson said: “This is not what we want to see. We are really keen to see this opened up and for people to start using it. And now that the chip-and-pin issue has been resolved we will be looking to open it up.”

Concerns have also been expressed that the council intended to keep the cafe ticking over until handing it to a trust in 2015, and commenting on this, Mr Wilson added: “No, this is certainly not the case. We are keen to develop the cafe to its full potential and we are looking forward to doing just that. We want this facility to be in a good position when the culture trust takes over.”

Councillor Stuart Marshall is delighted that the council has begun to resolve issues at the cafe and talking to the Hawick News just before we went to press, the Hawick and Denholm member said: “I’m delighted to hear that assurances have been given by Scottish Borders Council and that all the issues surrounding this building are now being addressed. It is an integral part of our town and for many weeks now there has been much anxiety regarding how underused it has become.

“I’m pleased to hear that the chip-and-pin facility has been sorted out. This has caused problems for both locals and visitors. And the sooner we have live music and entertainment back and the other issues are resolved the better for townsfolk and visitors alike.

“I fully appreciate the problems that arose over the Filmhouse situation but we must get over that and restore business as usual to this very valuable asset.”