South Scotland

Hawick and Galashiels town centre revival pilot plan floated

Hawick Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Shopper footfall has fallen by more than 50% in Hawick over a 10-year period

A year-long pilot project is being proposed to try to "revitalise and reinvigorate" two Borders town centres.

It would see a "core activity area" removed in Hawick which would allow a wider range of property uses.

Studies have shown that footfall in the town has fallen by more than 50% over the past decade.

Councillors are being recommended to retain the core area in Galashiels but to allow a "more flexible approach" to which businesses are permitted.

Town centre vacancy rates (winter 2017)
Town Number of units Vacant units Percentage vacancy
Hawick 258 37 14%
Peebles 144 12 8%
Galashiels 243 37 15%
Kelso 166 10 6%
Melrose 80 6 8%
Jedburgh 89 12 13%
Selkirk 88 12 14%
Duns 61 5 8%
Eyemouth 67 5 7%

If agreed, both measures would be monitored for a year to study their impact.

A report to Scottish Borders Council said that would give time to assess the "success or otherwise" of the changes.

The findings would then feed into the proposed new local development plan.

Councillors will be told next week that different options were needed for the two towns.

"It was considered Hawick required a radical approach," the report stated.

However, it concluded that the same system would not be suitable for Galashiels as it might prove detrimental to efforts to maximise the economic opportunities of the Borders Railway and a planned permanent home for the Great Tapestry of Scotland.

If agreed, the one-year pilot would begin immediately with a report produced at its conclusion covering "any relevant issues and outcomes".

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites