Public urged to speak out on common good plans

MEMBERS of the public are being invited to find out more about the controversial plans for Hawick’s Common Good Fund and have their say at Monday night’s community council meeting.

And Scottish Borders Council Leader David Parker has been asked along to the town hall at 7pm to clarify the full implications of what is proposed by the local authority.

As previously revealed, plans are currently out for consultation which would see all the Common Good Funds in the Borders – Duns, Galashiels, Hawick, Jedburgh, Kelso, Peebles and Duns – placed in one central pot at Newtown St Boswells. The idea behind it is to secure a greater yield from investments, which would be shared out on a pro rata basis.

However, concerns have been raised that Hawick Common Good, which has assets in excess of £3.2million, with £88,000 deposited in a Roxburgh Investment Fund – along with Jedburgh and Kelso – and £450,000 in a loan account with SBC, has more to lose than others.

While Hawick councillor Zandra Elliot has vowed to defend the town’s share vigorously, Councillor Parker and Councillor Carolyn Riddle-Carre, chairperson of the Common Good Working Group, have both been at pains to stress the merits of the proposals.

Community council chairman John Hope has included the item on Monday night’s agenda with the intention of bringing some clarity to the disagreement.

He said: “My fellow community councillors are being asked questions that they cannot answer on this matter, so we really need to hear the full facts on what is being proposed by Scottish Borders Council.

“I urge and do hope the public will come along to this meeting and hopefully by the end of it we will all be clear as to what the real issues are.

“I should also point out that Hawick Community Council is one of several stakeholders in this proposal, so it is important that we have our say.

“We have extended an invitation to the Leader of the Council David Parker, who has been very vocal on this worrying issue.”