Hawick park cafe to open in February

Hawick councillors Watson MacAteer and Stuart Marshall raise concerns about the new Hawick cafe in Wilton Park not being finished on time.
Hawick councillors Watson MacAteer and Stuart Marshall raise concerns about the new Hawick cafe in Wilton Park not being finished on time.

The cafe at Hawick’s Wilton Lodge Park will open at the start of February, it has been confirmed.

Despite originally being planned to open in April this year, cafe’s recently appointed operator, Bradford-based Caterleisure, has announced that the cafe will now be open by February 8.

The café is part of the £3.6m Wilton Lodge Park regeneration project, backed by the National Lottery and Scottish Borders Council.

The revamp has included improvements such as the new £300,000 play-park, cycle paths and the Zandra Elliot Bandstand.

However, frustration has previously been expressed over repeated delays in opening.

Councillor for Hawick and Denholm, Stuart Marshall has condemned the project as a fiasco.

He told the Southern: “The prospect of this cafe now remaining closed until at least early February is an absolute disgrace and the townsfolk have every right to feel let down by such news.

“From start to finish the entire cafe project has been a fiasco and what saddens me greatly is the fact that this issue has been allowed to overshadow the fantastic work and investment that has been carried out within the grounds of Wilton Lodge Park.

“The townsfolk have for sometime been calling for a public enquiry in order to get to the bottom of how things have been handled so badly and the sooner that happens the better.”

Watson McAteer, councillor for Hawick and Hermitage, said: “News that the Park Cafe is to finally open in February 2018, only 10 months later than planned, will be greeted with great scepticism by the vast majority of Hawick folk. Unfortunately seeing will be believing although most will i am sure welcome this much needed facility that will compliment our magnificent park. Those responsible for this mess must be held to account and should recompense a community treated with utter disrespect over such a protracted period’

A Scottish Borders Council spokesperson added: “We welcome Caterleisure’s confirmation of the date for the opening of the new café, which will undoubtedly be a significant asset for Wilton Lodge Park and Hawick for years to come.

“We also understand and share the frustration of the people of Hawick regarding the delays to the completion of the café but now we have confirmation of the opening, we are sure Caterleisure will provide a quality service for all users of the park.

“This includes the cafe being open for 12 months of the year for park users, a significant improvement on the initial plans to open the facility only on a seasonal basis.”