A pupil’s perspective - Concerns over the impact of a growing town

Children from Gladstones Gait held a protest last year at the proposed housing development
Children from Gladstones Gait held a protest last year at the proposed housing development

Five years of heavy construction traffic, noise and chaos. That is what the residents of Baird’s Way and Gladstone’s Gate fear is their future, write Elliot Jones & Jamie Napier, S1 Lasswade High.

Thirty years ago, Bonnyrigg was a small mining town built mainly of local council housing. Then there came a large period of private housing development. This has resulted in local areas like Hawthornden, Polton and Cockpen being swallowed up by the quickly growing Bonnyrigg. This has allowed Bonnyrigg to grow into a well-thought of town with good schools, good health centres and good supermarkets now with a population of 15,000, enough to fill most premier league stadiums. None of this had caused any real concern until recently when it was announced that Walker Homes would be building a new development on the HS10 site behind the Midlothian Community Hospital. There is now concern that this development on one of the last remaining green spaces is a development too far.

Around 500 children live in the estate behind the HS10 site and the issue of construction traffic going through the streets has been weighing down heavily on the mind of many parents. This traffic is due to last for about five years. The subject of children does not end there, as there is also the fact that many of the local primary schools are at bursting point. The local doctors’ surgeries and health centre are both also struggling to facilitate all of the local people. So, this raises the question of whether there should be any new schools or health centres built to accommodate the new residents. Local resident Steve Sprat has been one of the main people opposing the development and campaigning against it. The name of his campaign group is Walker Homes Action opposing Hs10 Development.

“It’s going to get worse before it gets better.” Those are the words said by local community councillor Marnie Crawford when interviewed about HS10 development. Marnie had been kind enough to share more details on the subject such as saying that “the majority of council are unanimous that the houses should be held off being built or not be built at all.” It is most likely that a bridge will be built to help traffic because the roads planned to contain the traffic are too small and weren’t meant to hold so many cars. It was said that some of the money would go to schools to extend them for the upcoming population growth that will sweep the town off its feet.

In conclusion, the house development will cause many problems for the townspeople living nearby but it will open up many opportunities for the town to expand and grow to a sizable extent but are the people willing to give up one of their last areas of green space that many people enjoy to replace it with a brand-new chapter in the history of Bonnyrigg?

• This article was written for BBC News School Report Day.