‘Massive challenge’ for High Street group

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A new group will be formed aimed at the regeneration of Hawick’s ailing High Street.

At Wednesday night’s meeting in the lesser town hall, which was attended by around 30 traders and interested parties, community council chair, Marion Short, said: “This is a last-ditch attempt to take this thing forward.”

Mrs Short, whose council has been spearheading the campaign, added: “It was never intended for this to be a community council project. You need to stand up and be counted.

“The key objective tonight is for us all to work together for the benefit of Hawick. We need people with connections and how to get things off the ground and how not to be derailed at the first hurdle.”

Those attending spoke of dwindling footfall, high rates, parking and traffic issues, lack of signage and the need to get shoppers out of their cars and onto the High Street.

Derick Tait, of Future Hawick, spoke of the massive challenge ahead: “The High Street has to control its own destiny. Future Hawick can help, as can Hawick Community Council as well as our councillors and other organisations, but first and foremost the campaign has to be led by the High Street.

He added: “It may be a massive challenge but with united support I believe it is a challenge to which Hawick High Street can rise.”

The new group, currently without a chairman, will meet later this month and among others includes, Andrew Dobbie, Alistair McKay, Jim Hay, Rob Armstrong, James Pringle, Marion Chrystie, Derick Tait, Hamish Smith and Alistair Dorward.

Commenting after the meeting, Councillor Watson McAteer said: “It was encouraging to see a good turnout of folk who have a genuine desire to see our High Street regenerated.

“I am optimistic that those who have agreed to form a committee will work together and take the first steps needed on what will be no doubt be a long but much-needed journey.”