Midlothian snooker ace’s dad points cue at council

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A snookered businessman has taken a pot shot at Midlothian Council after closing down his sports bar in Bonnyrigg.

Speaking to the Advertiser in 2009, Michael Leslie expressed his anger that, despite taking scores of youngsters off the street, his Bonnyrigg Snooker Club was receiving no financial assistance.

Run by Mr Leslie and his wife Tracey for 12 years, it was the only one in Scotland to produce seven junior international snooker players.

Their son, Michael jnr, turned professional last year and is currently ranked 94th in the world.

Struggling to balance the books in 2010, the Leslies turned it into a “sports bar”, retaining just one full-size snooker table.

On December 15 last year, the doors of the building were closed for the last time.

Mr Leslie said: “As the club was starting to struggle we were aware that places like the [Bonnyrigg] bowling club, [Bonnyrigg] ex-servicemen’s and Bonnyrigg Rose Social Club were operating rates free.

“We had to look at all avenues to keep the club going and so I asked the council if we could be exempt from paying rates, as we were providing a facility for kids and pensioners and people with special needs. Unfortunately we received a letter explaining that we didn’t qualify.

“When I then applied for hardship relief we were told that we didn’t qualify for that either. I explained to the then council leader that the club would have to close unless we received some help.”

Read full story in this week’s Advertiser. Out now.