Escalating costs for Wilton Mills scaffolding

SCAFFOLDING erected at the derelict Wilton Mills on Commercial Road two years ago has cost the public more than £44,000.

And it is unclear who will ultimately foot the bill as Scottish Borders Council looks to recover the full amount of £44,487.10 to date, from the developer.

The scaffolding was put up by the local authority in August 2008 after alleged fears about the structure of the building – which the developer Beaune Properties (North) Ltd denied was necessary – and they have since incurred the costs.

It is understood the matter could end up in court where a decision will be made on who should pay up.

A council spokesperson told the Hawick News: “We can confirm there is legal action currently being pursued against the owners of Wilton Mills. This is for the costs incurred with regard to the erection of the scaffolding.”

The Category B listed building is regularly targeted by vandals and was branded an “accident waiting to happen” last year by the Teviot and Liddesdale Community Safety Panel.

Community council chairman John Hope told this week’s meeting: “This is such a lot of money at the taxpayer’s expense and could be put to so much good use elsewhere.”

Planning permission was granted last year to demolish the building and construct 24 new flats. And further consent has now been given by the Scottish Government to raze the former Blair and Patterson premises.

A spokesperson for the developer did not comment on the scaffolding issue but said: “Beaune Properties (North) Ltd are delighted that the Scottish ministers have given the go ahead for the former Blair and Patterson building.

“All that is now required is an agreement on a Section 75 with the council to allow demolition to proceed.”

A meeting has been scheduled with council officials for next Thursday to discuss the demolition process.