‘Give us a Hub’ campaign - leader of Midlothian Council responds

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Launching our ‘Give us a Hub’ campaign on May 15, we challenged local politicians to improve community facilities in Dalkeith.

Council Leader Owen Thompson (SNP) sent us this response:

“I have to say that I struggled to recognise the picture of Dalkeith which was painted in your feature article Come on Midlothian, which gave the impression of a town and community in decline. Even allowing for artistic licence, the sentiments expressed were more downbeat than I would suggest is justified.

Does Dalkeith have some problems? Yes, it does, just like other towns across Scotland. We need to create more jobs and improve the quality of life for some people in Dalkeith, in particular working harder in areas such as Woodburn.

But what it also has is a wide range of organisations, community groups, public sector groups, private business people, volunteers and others who are all working hard to make the town as good a place as it can be.

The council’s success in terms of helping Morrison’s create a new supermarket in the town centre, rather than an out of town location, is something to be commended and it is by working together with other organisations that we will make progress in developing Dalkeith further.

What do you think is the answer to Dalkeith’s woes? Email us your ideas on what facilities are needed and where a community hub could be located.

Unfortunately, pulling together successful developments can involve a large number of partners in terms of funding agencies and other groups and things sometimes don’t move as fast as everyone would like. Getting the detail right on financial arrangements in particular is absolutely vital as you might expect and this does take time. The lack of public visibility does not mean that nothing is happening. Far from it.

In terms of the replacement for the Dalkeith Community Centre, I can assure readers that our plans with the Dalkeith Miners Welfare are continuing to be developed and we are optimistic about being able to help our partners in delivering new facilities for the community to use.

I am optimistic because the council has a good track record in terms of council staff working with partners on projects which benefit the community. In Dalkeith itself, we’ve seen the benefit of considerable investment in more attractive pavements, and in improvements to the fabric of the historic buildings on the High Street through the £1.3m Dalkeith Townscape Heritage Initiative.

Anyone walking on the High Street can see how clean the buildings are looking. That initiative involved a large number of partners over a number of years and has delivered great improvements and is an example of the kind of successful collaborative approach this council takes to developing our towns and communities.

It’s an example we’ll be seeking to emulate as we continue to work on developing Dalkeith town centre as an attractive place to work, live, and shop.“