United front is called for on Hawick moor revamp

Hawick Councillor George Turnbull at St Leonards race track where money is to be spent refurbishing the facilities there.
Hawick Councillor George Turnbull at St Leonards race track where money is to be spent refurbishing the facilities there.

Plans for a £250,000 revamp of Hawick Moor’s racecourse buildings have hit a stumbling block after the town’s common good fund sub-committee refused to grant some of the funding needed.

It instead urged members of the town’s common riding committee to firm up its proposals and present its plans again.

A joint application for a new building to replace the existing facilities at the St Leonard’s Park Racecourse was submitted by the town’s common good fund and common riding committees in January last year and approved by planners in March.

However, common good fund chairman and town councillor George Turnbull is urged the latter committee to think again after a public consultation event held in the town earlier this month flagged up an apparent split of opinion.

Mr Turnbull said: “There seemed to be disquiet amongst some of the members of the common riding society.

“I had to quite clearly state as chairman that we could not progress until they sorted out how they want the building to be.

“It was very much put back to the Hawick Common Riding committee to go through the whole process again – either stick with what they have got or firm it up and come back with a united voice.”

Plans for the new building – to house a weigh-in room, toilets, stewards’ room, jockeys’ changing room, showers, committee room and kitchen – were put on show to townsfolk earlier this month at Hawick Town Hall.

The complex would replace and supplement the existing facilities already used during the annual common riding in June and for race meetings.

A longer-term plan is to host other events on the moor and to rent out the buildings.

Mr Turnbull said a mixture of views were voiced by a good turnout of Teries, but he insists the committee cannot consider granting a financial contribution towards the project until it is clear exactly what is being asked for.

“There was a good exchange of views, but it was a bit embarassing that the Hawick Common Riding committee had not come up with a final plan,” he added.

“Everybody should be singing from the same hymn sheet.

“The plans have full planning permission, and some of them didn’t seem to know that.

“I would like to think that they will come back, firm up the proposals, whatever they may be, and re-present.”