Libraries and gala day support to continue

Newtongrange Gala Day 2017
Newtongrange Gala Day 2017

Proposals to close all but one of Midlothian’s libraries were rejected on Tuesday, along with plans to remove support for the county’s gala days.

Speaking ahead of the council meeting on Tuesday, where plans to close all libraries except Dalkeith were proposed by officers, council leader Derek Milligan (Lab) said: “While the council is moving to shift public interaction with the council from phone/in person to electronic we still have to accept that not every member of the public, particularly the old and vulnerable have access to computer facilities in their homes.

Dalkeith Library & Arts Centre.

Dalkeith Library & Arts Centre.

“Our local libraries are much valued resources within our communities. They are also focal points within our communities and play a hugely important role in community life. We therefore oppose the closure of any of our libraries, however we accepted the revised and greatly reduced £50,000 saving proposed on the basis that no libraries will close as a result.”

Council also rejected proposals to end support for galas and other events to save £75,000.

It will now look at the level of resources afforded to each community to ensure a “fair distribution of both finance and support provided”.

Cllr Milligan added: “Local gala days are an important historical tradition, particularly in our mining communities and are an integral part of the identity of Midlothian.

“We therefore reject this proposed saving. However, we need to look at the level of resources afforded to each community to ensure a fair distribution of both finance and support provided.”