Parker accused of ‘untruths’ in tapestry row

Callants Club president Derick Tait is accusing the leader of Scottish Borders Council of “untruths” and “contradictions” over the bid to bring the Great Tapestry of Scotland to Hawick.

And despite Mr Tait’s organisation being told that no suitable building in Hawick could be found, a request to Scottish Borders Council failed to come up with a list of buildings which had been investigated.

In correspondence with the Hawick News this week, Mr Tait said: “Originally we were told that the tapestry could not be housed in Hawick because no suitable building could be identified. Despite requests, no list of buildings which had been identified was ever produced, and Councillor Parker’s last email has now confirmed that no investigation was ever carried out.”

Mr Tait continued: “A simple request has been countered with untruths and contradictions, with many questions remaining unanswered, but we now find ourselves in a situation where Councillor Parker thinks further correspondence would serve no useful purpose.”

First Minister Alex Salmond and council leader Parker have both announced that the tapestry is bound for Tweedbank. And Mr Parker told national media that tourists would be able to take the “train to the tapestry” despite the fact that the £40,000 feasibility study, aimed at finding a suitable home for the artwork, isn’t complete.

Mr Tait continued: “The First Minister is credited with the announcement that the tapestry is coming to Tweedbank. Not so, says David Parker, as a feasibility study is awaited and Scottish Borders Council has still to discuss and vote for such a move.

“Yet, Alistair Moffat tells us that the Tweedbank trains are to be wrapped in livery depicting the tapestry which will be somewhat futile if the council votes against the project.”

And it’s that vote, which will follow the feasibility study, which could cause Councillor Parker problems with several councillors saying they won’t be supporting any move which will cost SBC money.

Mr Parker said: “I disagree with Mr Tait. I have provided a comprehensive response to all the letters from the Callants Club.

“The tapestry is owned by the tapestry trustees. They have made it quite clear they do not think there is a suitable location in Hawick.

“Their decision is that the tapestry should be housed elsewhere. I have confirmed the possible siting of the tapestry in three buildings at the Heart of Hawick was investigated but the parties agreed that this was not an option due to the tapestry’s size.”