A bid to secure the future of the historic Hornshole site by placing it under the stewardship of Hawick Common Good Fund was branded “a load of twaddle” by Councillor Davie Paterson on Tuesday.
Driven by Hawick andDenholm members Watson McAteer and Stuart Marshall, the proposal was for the Common Good Fund to secure ownership of the site.
However, guidance from a council solicitor has revealed that since local government reorganisation in 1975, Common Good Funds cannot legally hold the title to any property. The door is now open for Scottish Borders Council to seek ownership before assigning it to the trustees of Hawick Common Good fund.
Mr McAteer’s motion asked that council solicitors “proceed to secure title and ownership of the defined Hornshole land”.
But lodging a counter motion at the Common Good Fund meeting, Councillor Paterson said: “What a load of twaddle . . . I don’t agree with this, there is no need.”
Asked twice by Councillor Ron Smith to be specific about his counter motion, Mr Paterson repeated that he failed to see the need for the move and did not agree with it.
Councillor McAteer said: “I’m delighted that having brought forward a motion, supported by Councillor Stuart Marshall, to secure ownership of the Hornshole site, all but one of the Common Good trustees were fully supportive and determined to see our heritage protected for future generations.
“While there is still much to do, gaining support from most of the Hawick councillors is a clear indication that we can work together for the benefit of the town.
“The next steps will see specialists completing checks of records in an attempt to track down previous ownership ahead of a legal process to transfer the site to Scottish Borders Council who will, in turn, assign it to Hawick Common Good. I expect this process could take a year to complete but it’s reassuring that action is now under way’
“I’m absolutely delighted to second this motion, quite simply because without anyone actually stepping forward to lay claim to this historical and sacred site concerns me greatly, and, in my opinion, us as councillors and trustees of the town’s assets have, if nothing else, a sense of duty to protect important assets such as Hornshole.”
The motion was agreed with an amendment to bring the legal costs to the next Common Good meeting to allow them to be considered. Council solicitor Ron Kirk said he did not expect the expense involved to be prohibitive.