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Last Updated: Friday, 8 October, 2004, 10:09 GMT 11:09 UK
Scots bid to win back border town
Berwick: picture courtesy of FreeFoto.com
Berwick has changed hands a number of times in its history
Fresh calls are being made for the Northumberland town of Berwick to become part of Scotland again.

The town, which lies about a mile from the border, has changed hands between the two countries a number of times.

Now the leader of the Scottish Borders Council, David Parker, says he would like to see a referendum for people in the town to decide.

He believes Berwick becoming part of Scotland would have tourism and economic benefits.

Mr Parker said he had raised the issue in quite a light-hearted way but it had sparked a great deal of debate. He said his council had been working closely with Berwick on a number of issues and that would continue.

He said he regarded the border between Scotland and England was an "artificial" one with both being part of Europe.

In Berwick, 25% of people think of themselves as Scottish, 25% as English and 50% as Berwickers
Berwick Borough Councillor Mike Elliott

He said: "I think what we said was, given the arrival of the North East Assembly, it would be interesting if there was a referendum among the people of Berwick to see whether they wanted to be part of the North East assembly or in fact part of the Scottish Borders."

Mr Parker said he believed if a North East Assembly was voted for, Berwick could find itself on the periphery. He said he believed the move could benefit both the town and the Scottish Borders.

He said Berwick would be one of the largest towns in the Scottish Borders and would have significant focus on it and the spend per head is greater in Scotland than England and that would have a knock-on effect to benefit Berwick.

Berwick Borough Councillor Mike Elliott said: "I am very flattered to think that the Scots want Berwick back.

"We have started to work with the borders' council. I think if the two councils work together we can all benefit and we are benefiting already. I think the border in this day and age should be irrelevant.

"In Berwick, 25% of people think of themselves as Scottish, 25% as English and 50% as Berwickers."

The town changed hands between England and Scotland at least 13 times between 1296 and 1482.



Town in turmoil over map mix-up
08 Apr 04  |  Tyne/Wear
Scots offer Berwick 'ransom'
15 Apr 02  |  Scotland

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