“We want answers”

Pat Kenny (chair) and members of Loanhead Community Council Val Watt, Charlie Hamilton,Annabel Hamilton, Daya Feldwick and Annabel Hamilton.
Pat Kenny (chair) and members of Loanhead Community Council Val Watt, Charlie Hamilton,Annabel Hamilton, Daya Feldwick and Annabel Hamilton.

Loanhead Community Council has invited Kabin chairman Colin Beattie MSP to an emergency meeting to find out why the project has fallen apart.

Following calls by Midlothian councillors for an investigation into the management of the Kabin - set to close despite opening just seven years ago in its custom built home - a local group is now demanding to know why a £720,000 lottery grant “for the community” has been wasted.

Mr Beattie (SNP) has accepted the invitation to attend Loanhead Community Council’s emergency meeting at Loanhead Library next Tuesday to face its questions.

Speaking at the group’s meeting last week, community council chairman Pat Kenny, said: “I suggest we ask Colin to come to a special meeting here in two weeks, to tell us what has been happening.

“We, the community, have been awarded all that money from the lottery, that was for the community, yet we can’t get access to it.”

Community council vice chairman Jackie Aitchison added: “Even if we don’t get anywhere with our invitation we have got to at least try to get involved in this as the community clearly wants answers as to why this has happened.”

The community council agreed to invite the three local councillors to the meeting as well as Mr Beattie.

Mr Kenny added: “If there is any way this community council can assist with the investigation or future running of the place we would like to help in any way we can.

“We give our full support to any management committee put in place.

“We want the investigation done as soon as is achievable. It has the full backing of the community and we welcome a transparent outcome.”

Mr Beattie accepted the invitation and he told the Advertiser he would send a brief written update to Mr Kenny ahead of the meeting, he added: “Parties interested in taking on the building have until the end of September to put forward their proposals.

“In the first week of October a decision will be taken on which proposal will best serve the local community including, ideally, supporting existing user groups and allowing a community garden to continue.

“A very different business model is needed to ensure a successful outcome. It is clear the existing model as put in place in 2010 no longer appeals across the broad community. Times have changed and we must learn from that.”

Midlothian West councillors Kelly Parry (SNP), Pauline Winchester (Con) and Russell Imrie (Lab) all told the Advertiser that they planned to attend the private emergency meeting of Loanhead Community Council.