Councillor in call for assurances over business park marketing concerns

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SCOTTISH Borders Council is being urged to market Burnfoot South’s business park “to the maximum”, amid criticism that it still remains empty.

The purpose-built site in Burnfoot, opposite Barrie Knitwear, was bought by the local authority in 2010 as part of a Borders-wide project to create fully-serviced sites that would be ready for companies to move straight in. But the industrial area is yet to attract one firm - and local officials are calling for SBC to do more.

According to Hawick and Denholm member Stuart Marshall, several enquiries have been made about the site, but for reasons which include being too far from the town centre, or not creating jobs, have not progressed. But he assserted: “With land at Galalaw available and this new fit-for-purpose site at Burnfoot, it is important that we do everything we can to try and sell these plots to ventures that will create employment for the town.”

He went on: “Maybe there is still nervousness at potential new businesses willing to commit and finance still not readily available. Whatever the reasons are, we must make sure the land we have for sale or rent in and around our town is marketed to the maximum.”

The new 2.4-acre area boasts six plots, which with funding from the European Regional Development Fund and at a total cost of £730,200, were equipped with access, drainage and utilities. A spokesperson for SBC says the site is designed for new businesses, and for existing businesses to expand. And they have stressed that every effort is being made to fill it.

“The availability of new sites in the region has been marketed nationally in commercial property magazines,” they explained. “As individual sites become available they are also promoted via the council website. Three enquiries have been received to date about new sites in Hawick. The Council has made this important investment in Hawick and other key locations to ensure a ready supply of land for businesses in the Borders.”

The spokesperson added: “Depending on market conditions, there is often a time lag between sites being completed and sold for development.It is expected that recovery in the local economy, and initiatives such as assisted area status being granted to parts of the Borders, including Hawick, will increase demand for business sites.”

But Burnfoot Community Council chairman Richard Knight said: “It’s frustrating and I worry the site will deteriorate. It is up to the council to get someone in.”