Almost a dozen trees are being felled in a bid to help Hawick’s Wilton Lodge Park fulfil its potential as a tourist attraction, it has emerged.
The £3.64m regeneration of the park continues to progress, with improvements to its cycleways and work on its new café and bridge carrying on into the new year.
Landscaping around the Gilbert Davidson Fountain began this week, with P1 Contracts, of Linlithgow in West Lothian, previously responsible for carrying out improvements to the walled garden last year and doing work at the outdoor classroom, being awarded the contract.
Those works will be completed by the end of the year, weather permitting, and will be followed by restoration of the fountain. Contracts for the fountain’s restoration and the refurbishment of the park’s entrance gates will be announced early next year.
The project team recently met members of the Wilton Lodge Park stakeholder group to discuss visibility of the park from the A7 road.
It is deemed essential to attracting passing visitors to the park that the visibility of all its attractions is maintained.
With that in mind, it was decided to remove 10 trees, three of which were already showing signs of disease.
Another dead tree has been earmarked for removal for public safety and the lopping-off of lower branches from some trees is required to allow adequate illumination of a new footway and cycleway.
Selkirkshire councillor Gordon Edgar, Scottish Border Council’s executive member for roads and infrastructure, said: “While it is unfortunate that a small number of trees have to be removed, it is necessary in order for the park to fully meet its potential as a significant tourist attraction for Hawick and the Borders.”
Most of the work lined up for the park is due to be completed by April 2017, a year ahead of the overall project completion date of April 2018.
Mr Edgar added: “The regeneration project has already delivered a number of improvements to Wilton Lodge Park, including a new bandstand, walled garden, outdoor classroom, waterfall walk, improvements to Hawick Museum and full summer events programme.
“Despite now heading into winter, there is still plenty of activity in the park as we head towards completion of the regeneration project.
“The improved walled garden has been a major asset to the park, and I am pleased to hear the same company will be carrying out landscaping works at the fountain.”