Empty shops targeted by operation clean-up

THE local group Future Hawick have secured a grant which will allow them to launch a clean-up operation on the High Street’s empty shops.

Following on from a Future Hawick-led initiative last year which saw Scottish Borders Council agreeing to a small grant scheme for shop front improvements, it has been revealed this week that the local business group is now aiming to enhance the appearance of 10 or 11 empty premises.

Chairman Derick Tait told Hawick Community Council this week: “We have persuaded SBC to give us a small grant purely to try and improve the look of the shops. The money isn’t for painting or anything like that, but we hope to wash them all, get posters down, clear out any rubbish, clean the windows and then fill them with large photos of all that’s good about Hawick.”

Mr Tait stressed the project was in its early stages, and that Future Hawick are currently in the process of writing to each of the selling agents requesting entry into the properties.

Community Councillor And-rew Farquhar commented: “This is all good news, but I hope the photos idea will be done properly, as sometimes such things can make a shop front look worse.”

But Mr Tait stressed: “We intend them to be big photos, properly produced, that show what’s good about life, probably including the Common-Riding, Sevens and Summer Festival.

“We are just hoping to improve the appearance of the street and to make it look busier and tidier. It might even help agents to let the shops if they look better.”

There were calls from Community Council members for owners of unsightly empty shops to be ‘named and shamed’ with photographs in the Hawick News, but it was agreed to allow the clean-up to go ahead first.