Community members in Howgate have now incorporated the Howgate Community Group as a company limited by guarantee.
This means Howgate now has a legally constituted body that can negotiate on behalf of villagers to promote the village.
It is anticipated that the former Howgate Kirk, the ‘Village Hall’ which is an extension of the kirk, and the adjacent Glebe Field will be marketed very shortly.
A packed meeting held recently in the village confirmed that members of the local community are interested in securing some of these assets to ensure the future sustainability and well-being of today’s residents and of the whole community in the future.
James Garry of Howgate Development Group Ltd, has high hopes for the future.
He said: “This is a very significant step because, for the first time, Howgate village now has a legally constituted body that can negotiate on behalf of villagers to promote the sustainable development of the village.
“Creating a community orchard and better and safer space for children’s activities would be another immediate priority as would be a sheltered event space.
“A longer-term ambition would be building a new low maintenance, low carbon village hall to hold community events.”
The new group hopes to make the most of the Glebe.
James said: “We are currently focusing on the Glebe Field which has the greatest long-term sustainable development potential. If secured for the community, the existing allotments could be expanded, and training and education links made with other community bodies in Penicuik.
“Anyone passing through Howgate must think its great to be surrounded by such lovely countryside. And it is. But the reality is that most of the land surrounding Howgate is working farmland and the fields around the village are full of sheep and cattle most of the year.
“The Howgate Glebe is the village’s only safe, accessible open space, for walking, community events, children playing and, of course, our allotments. We think the Glebe is essential for the future sustainable development and community well-being of the village and the wider Penicuik area.
“Our attempt to secure this land seems unique in Midlothian. But when we are successful, we will show that yet another route to community ownership is available for all of the county’s communities.”