Scottish Borders Council has performed a spectacular U-turn which will see Hornshole recommended for inclusion in the new Hawick multi-ward at the next local elections.
In what will be seen by many as a credibility-restoring move, Councillor Ron Smith emailed all 34 SBC councillors this week asking for their thoughts on “altering the line” to include Hornshole in response the “controversy in Hawick following the council meeting last Thursday”.
The news has been welcomed by Councillor Watson McAteer who said: “Ron Smith’s suggestion to move the proposed boundary at Hornshole to ensure its future within a new Hawick district ward, although late in the day, is welcome.
“[Councillor] Stuart Marshall and I had already contacted the Boundary Commission, the organisation with the final decision in this matter, seeking a similar common-sense change.
“There is no doubt this change has arisen because the full voice of the Hawick folk has been heard and the Hawick News in particular must take great credit for championing such an important part of Hawick’s history.”
In his email to Scottish Borders councillors this week, Councillor Smith wrote: “As a result of the controversy within Hawick following the council meeting last Thursday, which has focused on the importance of the Hornshole site to Hawick, I have given this further thought.”
And Councillor Smith added added that following consultation with council officials they have concluded that “only a minor tweak is required to retain the association of Hawick with its historical and cultural site at the Hornshole memorial”.
The email, which Mr Smith says has the “potential to bring a happier outcome on this specific and important point”, continued: “I am assured by officers that this small area could be incorporated withouth any difficulty . . . it could then be incorporated into the list of responses that SBC is making to the Boundaries Commission.”
Also welcoming Mr Smith’s change of position, Councillor and Provost Stuart Marshall said: “I am delighted that public pressure seems to have made everyone sit up and realise for themselves the real importance of this issue.
“And if the 30-or-so councillors are now in favour of retaining Hornshole in the proposed boundary changes then this must be welcomed wholeheartedly.
“I have nothing but admiration for all those members of the public who have lobbied not only myself but other local councillors on this issue and it shows just how passionate people really are about their town. I now hope that the Boundary Commission will take cognisance of these new proposals.”