All for One in plans to boost Dalkeith

Douglas Strachan with the steering group at Jarnac Court, Dalkeith.
Douglas Strachan with the steering group at Jarnac Court, Dalkeith.

A grassroots project’s proposals to reinvigorate Dalkeith and create new community facilities are to be outlined at a public meeting.

Local residents are being invited to have their say on One Dalkeith’s plans at an open event in Dalkeith Arts Centre on Monday, November 9, at 6.30pm.

The group aims to bring the town’s communities together and use innovation and enterprise for mutual benefit.

Supported by the community councils of Dalkeith & District and Eskbank & Newbattle, One Dalkeith is considering options for a civic centre, improved community facilities and ways to create greater community cohesion.

Local architect Douglas Strachan, who chairs the steering group, said: “The community councils have risen to the occasion and the steering group has been looking at ways of forming a development trust to take forward proposals.

“We’ve got the support of the Development Trusts Association Scotland and a representative will be speaking at the meeting to outline what this involves.

“Midlothian Council has been carrying out a feasibility study on the town centre and we are keen to broaden this out to look at ways of invigorating the town beyond the council estate.

“From the meetings we have had, the key conclusion is that, for this to work, we should all be in this together because Dalkeith is a town of multiple communities and many interests.

“Early next year we will have a much bigger consultation, contacting everybody in Dalkeith, with a view to creating an action plan.”

The drive for a multi-purpose facility for the community was kickstarted by the Advertiser in May 2014 when we called on readers who agreed that the town deserved better to step forward.

The Give Us A Hub campaign was an initiative by reporter Craig Finlay, who died in July this year.

The response was unprecedented and the concept received the backing of Colin Beattie MSP, David Hamilton, then Midlothian MP, and Owen Thompson, who was leader of Midlothian Council at the time.

The site of the former Dalkeith High School at Newmills Road has been identified as a possible site for a community hub, although such a facility is one of many options being considered.