Neighbourhood plan concerns


Newtongrange Community Council has labelled the local neighbourhood plan “a box ticking exercise” after becoming frustrated by the lack of action taken on it.

Speaking at the group’s latest meeting last week, secretary Ron Campbell said: “I just feel that the whole thing was an exercise in ticking boxes.

“A lot of people spent a lot of time working on it and it’s now just gone by the wayside.

“This was published in 2012. Four years down the line there is no momentum at the moment to update this plan to tell people what’s been done about it.

“There was a big thrust to begin with, but now it just seems to have been a box ticking exercise.

“Midlothian Council is now pushing other people and other communities to come up with a plan like this.

“But if it goes the same way as this one it will just be a waste of time.”

A spokesman for Midlothian Council said: “The Community Planning Partnership is committed to working in partnership with other organisations and community groups to produce meaningful neighbourhood plans that lead to improvements.

“After a gap due to restructuring, the council now has a dedicated communities officer who has been in touch with Newtongrange Community Council and has made a start at reviewing their neighbourhood plan. This will be completed in the current year.”

And the council spokesman added: “Based on our experience of completing neighbourhood plans in 15 of the 16 community council areas, they are only successful when all of the partners contribute and the community is fully engaged.

“We also acknowledge that neighbourhood plans often reflect a particular point in time, which means the partners need to continuously review and update the plans.

“This is so they can reflect changes such as public sector finances and other local opportunities, including the new Borders Rail route.

“We have contacted Newtongrange Community Council and hope that they will play an active role in reviewing and revitalising the shared neighbourhood plan.”