Midlothian Council “respects and understands” a decision by Gorebridge Community Development Trust to leave the project to redevelop the town’s former train station building.
The trust was due to take over the tenancy of the building after it opened as a café/restaurant, gallery and office space in 2020.
However trust’s board of trustees highlighted that delivering and now running Gorebridge Beacon was challenging. The board said: “We, as a charity, are in no position to revisit the same experience both in terms of financial implications and human resource. This is a responsible and prudent action we are taking.”
Council leader Derek Milligan said while he was disappointed with the decision, he understood the reasons behind it. He said: “It’s obviously sad news but we respect and understand the trust’s view. It’s understandable the trust will want to focus on making the Beacon a real success. It’s already a landmark building serving the community so we’re confident it has a great future under the trust’s stewardship.
“We’re grateful the trust came to us relatively early on in the project. While designs and planning consents are in place, no tenders have gone out for construction work and no lease had been signed with the building’s owner, Network Rail.”
Cllr Milligan added that funding partners have all been informed.
Restoring the station building was one of three Gorebridge Connected projects. This partnership initiative includes the council, the trust, Scottish Government Borders Railway Blueprint Programme, the LEADER programme, the Railway Heritage Trust, ScotRail and Network Rail.
There are three main elements to the Gorebridge Connected project, public realm improvements at Hunters Square, a heritage trail, both of which are complete, and restoring the derelict Gorebridge train station building.