Public meeting call in boundary fight

The Hawick councillors behind the fight to retain Hornshole and Denholm in the new town electoral ward are calling for boundary commissioners to face townsfolk at a public meeting.

Hawick and Denholm councillors Watson McAteer and Stuart Marshall are demanding that members of the public are given the chance to make their feelings clear during the public consultation period.

And following Tuesday’s Area Forum, Mr McAteer launched an attack on the way Councillor George Turnbull chaired the meeting at which he, (McAteer) called two points of order following what he called “innacurate and personal attacks”, he added: “‘Once again irresponsible, inaccurate and personal attacks were permitted to dominate what is an important matter for all who live in both Hawick local authority wards. The meeting should have focussed on how we can work together to rebuke the Boundary Commissions proposals but what followed will have left many of those present questioning the agenda. Stuart Marshall and I have engaged our MP and MSP’s as well as the Boundaries Commission directly and we will not give up.

“We will demand that a public meeting is called where the evidence can be presented and the voice of Hawick and surrounding area well and truly heard.”

Councillor Turnbull read a statement from a council legal officer at Tuesday’s meeting which said: “Any consideration of the Commission’s proposals this evening would be around the gathering of information or facts to be included in these submissions rather than discussion on what the council has already submitted – the decisions on both responses being taken at full Council meetings involving all Councillors.”

But Councillor Stuart Marshall added: “According to the email that was read out by George Turnbull at Tuesday’s meeting the debate at last month’s full council meeting is over. This however should not deter the public and other groups to have their say.

“What I did sense is that there was, not only a real ground swell of opinion for both wards to remain the same , at the same time it is clear that they would like a public meeting on the matter and with a representative from the Boundaries commission being present and I would welcome this opportunity.”