THERE have been calls for CCTV and better lighting on the Black Path following a “frightening” attack.

The assault on the 17-year-old girl on Sunday, January 31 is the latest reported incident on the route, Galashiels Community Council heard on Wednesday.

And chairwoman Judith Cleghorn has organised a meeting on the path with police and elected members of Scottish Borders Council (SBC) to assess what safety improvement could be made.

Community councillor Bill White said: “I was concerned about the Black Path as long ago as eight or nine years ago when I was at the council and I said things should be done then and nothing has really been done.

“There’s certainly a lot that could be done down there and I certainly think that it’s right for using CCTV.

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“I think it would make people feel a lot safer and I think we could turn it into something really good.

“Paths need to be sorted, fences are broken, vegetation isn’t very good so it just needs to be looked at and maybe now is a good time to have a look at it.”

He added: “Scottish Government and SBC spent a fortune on 20mph speed limits encouraging people to cycle along places like the Melrose Road.

“What they should have done is spend money on places like the Black Path, linking them up and making them safer for cyclists and pedestrians.”

The latest confirmed incident took place at around 8.10pm on January 31 when a man – described as around 5ft 7, of slim build, wearing a dark top with the hood up, a dark snood, and dark jogging bottoms – attacked the 17-year-old.

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The girl attended the Borders General Hospital where she was treated for injuries to her back.

Galashiels councillor Euan Jardine, of the Conservatives, told the meeting that a boy was also allegedly assaulted on the Black Path, in a separate incident, in recent days.

SBC’s executive member for wellbeing, sport and culture said the situation on the route is becoming “increasingly worrying” but added that people should not panic.

“I don’t think we should be alarmed like it’s happening all the time but I do think we need to look at the safety measures,” he said. “I don’t think people should be worried and panicked about it but it is a concern and we need to look at the safety standards.

“We need better lighting, better bushes and maybe some signs up.”

Mr Jardine added that the police CAT team will be patrolling the area more frequently.

He also confirmed that there was £9,400 in a small schemes fund and, as at May 2021, £97,000 in the pay and display parking pot – describing improvements to the Black Path as “a worthy cause” for the cash.