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It is encouraging that local councillors seem to be recognising the amount of local opposition to the proposals to close eight facilities in the feeder communities for the new Newbattle Community High School.

First the council leader announces that no-one in the SNP-led administration would vote to close any community facilities as part of the plans for the new school, and now the Midlothian Council Labour Group issues a statement that announces that Labour Councillors will vote against the closure of any local facilities in the catchment area and will vote to retain them all under council control.

If we are to believe that all of the local services that were under threat are to be saved from the chop, both parties must now make clear statements about committing sufficient funding for these services, and guarantee plans to ensure the adequate maintenance and repair of each facility.

As the Advertiser’s editorial comment on May 16 noted, the first stage of the consultation on the new school made no mention of the possibility of closing important community facilities. When proposals to do so were published in the second stage, these were met with alarm and outrage in equal measure. The fact that recommendations have now been made by council officials which persist in pursuing the closure of local amenities gives little confidence that the facilities will remain safe and secure for the future. Both parties will need to make unambiguous commitments to maintaining and enhancing the services provided by the local facilities if people are to believe that their recent statements are no more than public posturing in response to the anger of the village communities in the Newbattle catchment.

Paddy Carstairs

Lothian Terrace, Newtongrange

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