Street naming anger in Loanhead

David Adam (local historian),and  community councillors Annabel Hamilton, Gina Temple, Pat Kenny and Charles Hamilton, with Midlothian councillor Kelly Parry,  at the site to be called Canmore Court, next to St Margaret's Church. Photo by Lisa Ferguson.
David Adam (local historian),and community councillors Annabel Hamilton, Gina Temple, Pat Kenny and Charles Hamilton, with Midlothian councillor Kelly Parry, at the site to be called Canmore Court, next to St Margaret's Church. Photo by Lisa Ferguson.

People in Loanhead are “up in arms” with Midlothian Council over the recent naming of new streets in the town not quite adding up.

The council has allocated the name Ashgrove to streets in the recently completed CALA estate rather than the under construction Dandara estate on the site of what was Ashgrove House, which is to take the name St Margaret’s.

The proposed site to be called Canmore Court.

The proposed site to be called Canmore Court.

Locals argue that the two estates could perhaps both have the Ashgrove name as they sit side by side, only separated by the May Burn.

It has also been argued that the St Margaret’s name should be given to the social housing being built by Hart at the site of the former Loanhead Library, which is directly next to St Margaret’s Church. However, the council plans to name that site Canmore Court to recognise Malcolm Canmore King of Scots, who was married to Queen Margaret.

Under the procedure adopted by Midlothian Council, the street names are selected by the Provost, working with council officers.

Loanhead Community Council chairman Pat Kenny said: “I think the names are inappropriate. People in Loanhead are up in arms.

“They should be listening to local people. Local people know more about the town than the Provost does.”

Local historian Alan McLaren has been in contact with the council and the Provost regarding this issue.

He said: “Errors have been made. So the argument locally is give the Ashgrove name to the wider development.

“We are happy they are using St Margaret’s name, but it would be better for the site next to the church, not a mile up the road.

“Locals aren’t terribly impressed. It all stems from the error the council made at the start on the CALA estate.

“They are clearly trying to reflect the history of the site, but it’s such a shame it is to be done like this because of a council error.

“We are doing our best to maintain Loanhead’s separate identity. It’s going to become really quite difficult to maintain the identity of individual areas with all the house building going on locally.

“And one thing the council can do to keep local heritage alive is use the street names.

“They are trying, but these names are in the wrong places.

“We appreciate it’s difficult and we agree with the names, but please put then in the right places!”

Kelly Parry, SNP Councillor for Midlothian West, backs locals in their fight.

She said: “I have written to the Provost and the Chief Executive on several occasions to raise the issue of proposed new street names in Loanhead.

“I completely agree with the community and back their calls for a change of thought.

“However, the unwillingness of the Provost to enter sensible dialogue on this issue and his patronising approach has astounded me. His behaviour and handling of this has been disappointing.”

The Advertiser understands various local groups and individuals have also made representations to the council, voicing opposition to the recent naming of streets in Loanhead.

A Midlothian Council spokesman defended the “appropriate” naming of these streets in Loanhead, after agreeing the latest street naming policy three years ago.

He said: “The council agreed a street naming policy in 2016 that includes provision for elected members to put forward suggestions made by individual or voluntary organisations such as community councils.

“Indeed, some of these suggestions from local people and groups have been used to name streets in new developments.

“Street names are chosen based on various criteria and, as is the case in this instance, to reflect the heritage of the area.

“We feel the names chosen are, therefore, appropriate.

“The council will now ensure local members are aware of names chosen for streets in their wards so this information can be provided to individual constituents and at community meetings they attend.”