South Scotland

Hawick town centre 'challenges' examined

Hawick high street Image copyright Richard Dorrell
Image caption Hawick has seen a number of shop closures in recent months

Planning Minister Derek Mackay has visited Hawick to hear from traders about the challenges faced by the town.

It has experienced a number of shop closures in recent months.

Mr Mackay was invited by south of Scotland MSP Paul Wheelhouse to see the impact first hand.

The Scottish Borders is one of four local authority areas set to benefit from £160,000 in funding from the Scottish government to establish business hubs in towns across Scotland.

Delivered by Scottish Business in the Community (SBC) the demonstration project will work with businesses and offer support "tailored to the local area".

SBC is discussing the establishment of a business hub to cover a cluster of Borders towns, which is currently likely to include Hawick, Galashiels, Selkirk and Jedburgh.

'Prime example'

The hubs are one of a number of initiatives being rolled out as part of the Scottish government's Town Centres Action Plan, which aims to support regeneration across Scotland's town centres.

Speaking ahead of his visit, Mr Mackay said: "Hawick serves as a prime example of a town that is facing challenges in terms of activity in its town centre, and that is why I am keen to meet with local traders and community figures to hear about these issues for myself, and discuss ways forward for the town.

"The Scottish government is determined that our town centres should be vibrant, attractive and safe places where local people and visitors alike want to spend their time and money.

"This goes beyond simply considering how to attract businesses and support local economies, but ensuring that we diversify town centres to support their place at the core of community life, offering spaces to meet and interact with access to facilities and services that people require."

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