Plea for old industry sites to be revitalised

George Turnbull.
George Turnbull.

A Hawick councillor is calling on Teries to push for the rebirth of former industrial sites in the town amid concerns that too many are becoming blots on our landscape.

George Turnbull, a Scottish Borders Council representative for Hawick and Hermitage, is urging developers to utilise the potential of the sites and, by doing so, reduce the safety concerns of residents living close to them.

Hawick councillor George Turnbull at the old site where Turnbull Dye Works used to be in Slitrig Crescent.

Hawick councillor George Turnbull at the old site where Turnbull Dye Works used to be in Slitrig Crescent.

Many of the legacies of Hawick’s industrial heritage have been the subject of failed planning bids for housing and leisure use in recent years.

Sites of particular concern to Mr Turnbull include Bonsors old hosiery mill in Green Lane, the former Glenmac woollen mill in Teviot Road and N Peal Cashmere in Victoria Road.

“The problem is gigantic,” Mr Turnbull said.

Top of his wishlist for regeneration is the old Turnbull’s dye factory in Slitrig Crescent.

He said: “This site is a blight on the landscape with the amount of overgrowth, and what buildings that are left are of real concern to the surrounding neighbours.

“When you consider the massive investment and redevelopment by Scottish Borders Housing Association at Stonefield, it is frustrating to see this development site unkept.

“All parties concerned must give a greater emphasis and ensure that redundant sites are given a higher priority and every assistance to ensure redevelopment does take place and revitalise key sites within the town.

“Hawick has an abundance of old factory buildings that could be adapted for various uses, and all agencies must engage with the property owners to explore the best options that would enable progress to bring back some of these buildings into use.

“The Hawick action plan hopefully will be the driving agency to push these projects ahead.

“Finance is always a major problem, but all concerned will have to think out of the box and find solutions on an individual property basis and find innovative options.”

Back in 2010, there was an application for 62 apartments for over-65s at the former dye factory building, demolished in 2002, two years after it closed with the loss of 22 jobs.

Several years earlier, there were also plans for a 36-house mews development and children’s play area on the former factory land.

The Slitrig site, divided into two sections, is currently being marketed by Edinburgh-based DM Hall for a combined price of £950,000.

A company spokesman said: “Site one has valid planning consent for 62 apartments and six townhouses.

“Previous planning consent for the adjacent site has now lapsed, but this does establish the principle of residential development on the site.”