Former church site could be transformed

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Local Councillor Stuart Marshall has welcomed a decision to clear the site of a former church which was bulldozed years ago.

And the elected member has revealed that plans are in the pipeline for the land to be taken over by Scottish Borders Council and possibly turned into a civic space.

The former Wilton South and St Margaret’s Church, at the top of Commercial Road, was reduced to rubble more than 12 years ago after the council was forced to step in due to safety concerns – at a cost of £200,000 to the public purse. And with the owner still unable to be traced, the local authority has again agreed to help.

Councillor Marshall, who instigated a site meeting with officials in response to complaints about the eyesore, told the Hawick News: “For years nearby residents have had to observe the deterioration of this ground and of late it has become an attraction for fly-tipping. Attempts by SBC to recover the £200k for the cost of demolition proved fruitless, but I know they are trying very hard to explore the idea of legally acquiring the site.”

He added: “I’m delighted that following last week’s visit, SBC will clear the entire area. I know this is not a long-term solution, but it will be met with much relief.”

A council spokesperson said: “The council will shortly be undertaking work to tidy and remove vegetation. No decision has yet been taken with regard to longer-term plans for the site which remains in private ownership. Efforts to contact the owner, who is believed to live abroad, have thus far been unsuccessful.”

Mr Marshall concluded: “I would like to see the ground converted into some sort of civic space or community garden.”