Councillors’ ‘disappointment’ over boundary article

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As the three Scottish Borders Councillors representing the Hawick and Hermitage ward, we write to convey our disappointment over your reporting of the council debate regarding the Boundary Commission’s plans for the wider Hawick area.

We would emphasise, again, that we are totally opposed to the commission’s original proposals, as they pay no attention to local historical ties. Criticism has been made that we should therefore have supported Councillor Watson McAteer’s amendment to the council’s recommendations, but we must remind all readers that we are the elected members representing Hawick and Hermitage, ie Newcastleton, Hermitage and Liddesdale, and therefore could not possibly support an amendment which specifically called for that area to be part of the super-ward of Jedburgh, Ancrum and St Boswells.

We represented the interests of the residents of Newcastleton and area in the same way that Councillors McAteer and Stuart Marshall were representing their Denholm constituents, and our 1,000 or so constituents in that area have made very clear to us that they have stronger ties with Hawick than Jedburgh. SBC’s own response to the proposals recommends that they should retain links with Hawick, and that is what we subsequently voted for.

Councillor Ron Smith’s amendment was an attempt to have all six councillors unite around a request to have the commission look entirely afresh at their proposals for the current Hawick and Denholm and Hawick and Hermitage wards. The divisions which might otherwise ensue have been fully demonstrated by Councillor McAteer’s amendment and by your reporting of the debate.

Councillors Davie Paterson, Ron Smith and George Turnbull