The “concept” of a development trust has been established in Dalkeith, enabling our ‘Give us a Hub’ campaign to take a leap forward.
The drive for a multi-purpose facility that befits the needs of the community was kickstarted by the Advertiser back in May last year when we called on readers who agreed that the town deserved better to step forward.
The response was unprecedented, and with the backing of politicians MSP Colin Beattie, [the then] MP David Hamilton and former council leader Owen Thompson, the site of the former Dalkeith High School at Newmills Road was quickly identified as ‘the people’s choice’ of location. Mr Thompson, now MP for Midlothian, hinted that the land could be donated to the community for £1.
Speaking at a public meeting called by Eskbank and Newbattle and Dalkeith and District community councils in February, he suggested that a local body be formed in order that the people and not the council could determine the desired outcome.
Following a second public meeting last week, at which a development trust was formed ‘in principal’ to move the project forward, Mr Thompson said: “The community seems to have come together and is really driving this forward. That is exactly how these things should be because if you get the community involved it will always be far more successful than something that is dictated by the council.”
The formation of a development trust will see members of a working group - led by Eskbank and Newbattle and Dalkeith and District community councils - consult with local residents at forthcoming events such as Dalkeith Festival and Woodburn Family Fun Day, before holding a meeting in August to report on feedback.
A multi-million pound project, whether that be based at Newmills Road or - as seems to be gaining popularity - in central Dalkeith as part of council plans to regenerate the town centre, will likely spring from humble beginnings. It is possible that an empty retail unit in Dalkeith will be used as the trust’s headquarters, at least in the initial stages of the process.