Councillors on the ball over park paths

Following numerous concerns regarding the deteriorating state of the footpaths within Wilton Lodge Park, Councillors Watson McAteer and Stuart Marshall have met with council officials to seek a resolution.

The Hawick News understands that the footpath upgrades were never included in the original lottery funded project and that any work required would need to be funded from hard pressed council budgets.

Concerns were expressed at this month’s Community Council meeting when Grieg McLeod said that during a recent walk in Wilton Lodge Park he had counted around 80 potholes.

He told the council: “I couldn’t believe the amount of holes and the state of disrepair to the footpath,” he said.

The issue was brought to his attention by a mobility scooter user, who asked him to enquire at community council if maintenance of the path was part of the regeneration of Wilton Lodge Park, and if not, at what point did the state of the path become a health and safety issue for people who are using the park.

However following intervention by Councillors McAteer and Marshall, a positive plan now appears to be in place to address the concerns of the users of the award winning facility.

Commenting on the progress Councillor Watson McAteer said: “The deteriorating state of the paths in the park is a worry to many of the regular walkers and visitors. It also doesn’t look good, especially in light of all of the good things that are happening and continue to happen as part of the park regeneration project.”

And the Hawick and Denholm member added: “However, Stuart and I have met with council officials and have been told that funds are being committed to help repair and resurface the footways.

“This will be very welcome by the community and is an important step in complementing the lottery funded project aimed at rejuvenating this fantastic facility and genuine tourist attraction for our town.”

Adding to this Councillor Stuart Marshall said the pair were also willing to help foot the bill through two council driven funding initiatives: “While funding is a challenge Watson and I have offered to help by committing the remaining balance of our 2015/16 Quality of Life and Small Schemes Budget to help the council ensure the footpaths are improved and made safe for those that enjoy visiting our park.”

And Councillor Marshall added: “We are aware that the council are aggressively seeking additional funding to improve the footpath network to enable them to be used in an more innovative way by children and adult visitors and I welcome this.”

The next stage of the regeneration project is currently underway with tree and shrubbery clearance soon to commence at the Gilbert Davidson fountain. This is designed to open up the view from the Museum and the Volunteer Park side of the river.

This will be followed by a new cafe and children’s play area which is scheduled to be in place by the early summer.