Efforts to establish a community hub in Dalkeith have taken a giant leap forward after a public meeting was held to discuss options.
Organised by Dalkeith District and Eskbank and Newbattle community councils, the gathering at Dalkeith Arts Centre saw around 70 locals knock their heads together with council leader Owen Thompson (SNP), councillors Jim Bryant (SNP), Alex Bennett (Lab), Margot Russell (Lab), Peter de Vink (Ind), Lisa Beattie (SNP) and MSP Colin Beattie (SNP).
The event marked ten months since the Advertiser, in launching its ‘Give us a Hub’ campaign, first called for a facility that befits the needs of the communities - Dalkeith, Woodburn, Newbattle, Eskbank and Danderhall - that make up the wider Dalkeith area.
Councillor Thompson told the meeting: “There has been talk about using part of the old Dalkeith High School site as an option. Personally I have been very supportive of the idea but If something like that is going to happen I want the ideas to come from the communities. As a council we could have called meetings and tried to pull things together but this format, where community councils have started the process, is far stronger.”
Crucially, it was agreed that an “overarching organisation” be set up to steer the project once it finds its feet. However respective community councils will continue to take a lead in the meantime.
Stephen Dixon, chairman of the Dalkeith Miners CYP club, said: “Think big because at the moment there are no facilities for kids in the area to attend regularly.
“We are great at building houses in this town but we have no social or recreational space.
“When are we going to see a facility for the children? Every other town in Midlothian has got something, and yet Dalkeith for years has had nothing. It’s disgraceful.”