Hawick councillor’s plea to SBHA over Howegate litter

Scottish Borders Council is this week asking Howegate residents to shop fly-tippers who are blighting the area.

And one Hawick councillor is criticising Scottish Borders Housing Association, claiming the social landlord should be taking more responsibility for the mess left by tenants.

Last week, the Hawick News highlighted the concerns of residents and business owners who are fed up with the mess at the rear of the Howegate.

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And this week, Hawick and Hermitage member Davie Paterson, who is also the council’s environmental portfolio holder, is claiming that SBC is doing its best but the housing association needs to do more.

Mr Paterson said: “I am sick of the council getting the blame for the mess left in the Howegate and other areas. It’s just not on. SBHA own property here and I get complaints regularly about the mess at their properties.

“I have had to contact them on numerous occasions and they need to do more to ensure their areas are kept tidy. It’s just not on to blame the council every time someone dumps rubbish.”

Responding to last week’s Hawick News story, a Scottish Borders Council spokesperson said: “Staff litter-pick the Howegate area seven days a week and an additional litter-pick is carried out in early afternoons on school days, due to the high volume of schoolchildren using the shops at that location.

“The vennels off Howegate also attract fly-tipping, which may exacerbate the perception of the level of ‘litter’ in the area.

“Since the beginning of May, Scottish Borders Council has dealt with six separate instances of fly-tipping in this area.

“We would encourage people to report those they suspect are responsible for fly-tipping to the Dumb Dumpers helpline on 0845 2 30 40 90 or report it online at www.dumbdumpers.org.

“Fly-tipping in any form is unacceptable and anyone caught can face fines of up to £40,000 or six months imprisonment.”

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A statement from SBHA said: “We take residents’ concerns seriously and have received recent contact from the councillor regarding concerns about fly-tipping in the Howegate area.”

Maria Lyle, SBHA’s director of housing services, added: “We share the concerns raised regarding the dumping of rubbish in the Howegate and are committed to tackling this issue but SBHA cannot fix this alone. We are working with partners to find a solution to prevent fly-tipping in this area and we view local residents and the community as key to doing so.

“I would encourage anyone living in the Howegate area to get involved by contacting SBHA’s local housing officer, Elaine Brotherstone, at our West Port office on 360650.”

Letters, page 16