Hawick footbridge in urgent need of repairs, council told

Hawick councillor Davie Paterson on Langlands Bridge over the River Teviot.
Hawick councillor Davie Paterson on Langlands Bridge over the River Teviot.

Frustration is being voiced at delays holding up long-overdue repairs to a footbridge on the outskirts of Hawick.

Langlands Bridge, linking the A7 Edinburgh-Carlisle road with Wilton Lodge Park and marking a former burgh boundary, was built in 1894 and is now showing its age.

Hawick and Hermitage councillor Davie Paterson has been calling since last year for funds to be made available to resurface it, claiming it poses a risk to pedestrians in its current condition.

He has received accounts from constituents of youngsters falling over on the bridge over the Teviot because of the poor condition of its surface.

However, because of financial restraints facing Scottish Borders Council, repairs to the bridge are not high on the authority’s list of priorities.

And it is feared that no resurfacing work on the structure will be possible until a full inspection has been completed to highlight the works needing to be carried out.

Mr Paterson is particularly angered at that stalemate given the council’s willingness to pay for repairs to another historic crossing in the Borders.

The council has agreed to contribute almost £1m towards the restoration of the Union Chain Bridge between Fishwick in Berwickshire and Horncliffe in Northumberland.

Back in August, its executive agreed to add an extra £450,000 to the £500,00 already allocated for repairs to the 1820 crossing, the oldest suspension bridge in the world still carrying traffic.

Mr Paterson said: “I have been pushing for work to be done on Langlands Bridge since last year, and I am astonished that officers haven’t even got back to us yet explaining why they haven’t made any progress on bringing this forward.

“Is there a possibility that, with some councillors voting for the money to be spent on the Union Chain Bridge, the money just isn’t there for other bridges?

“I am regularly being informed of children falling on that bridge because it is so unsafe, and now I am told that it is unlikely that the council will be able to put a roller across it.

“I think some serious questions have to be asked on this.”

A council spokesman said: “Our bridges and structures section has advised against any resurfacing work on the bridge until a full condition and structural inspection has been completed and highlighted works from this inspection are carried out.

“This is something beyond the resources of the bridges team at the moment, which is already way overstretched trying to deliver our own service for our own bridge stock.”

The poor state of Langlands Bridge, named after the family that lived for 500 years in the eponymous tower once to be seen where Hawick Museum now stands, has been worrying community leaders for years.

Back in May 2015, Hawick Community Council vice-chairman Cameron Knox called for action to upgrade it after describing it as shabby.

At the time, Frank Scott, the council’s estate manager, said the work to repair it was “not a five-minute job”, adding: “You could be talking in the region of £20,000 as it would need to be sandblasted before it is repainted and then it would need to be scaffolded.”

Earlier this year, Amey, now responsible for pavements in Langlands Road, close to the bridge, carried out repairs to damaged footpaths there after receiving funding from Transport Scotland but stopped short of the crossing.