Letter to the Editor

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Private meetings

Re ‘Private meetings plan fury’ (Advertiser, May 1).

Firstly, my wife and I would like to say that we completely endorse your feelings on this issue. We agree with Councillor Ian Baxter when he says that all references to even the possibility of private meetings being held by a community council should be removed.

We agree with Councillor Derek Milligan when he stated that they would have huge concerns if community councils were allowed to have meetings in private.

We agree wholeheartedly with the chairman of Bonnyrigg and Lasswade Community Council, when he states in his opinion community councils exist to represent the views of every member of the community and meetings being held privately is exclusive rather than inclusive.

Your own comment says: “This layer of local government is a key part of local democracy”, and we completely support this. As far as we understand a community council’s role is this:

1) Any member of the public with any issue could go to any public meeting and state their case.

2) This would be discussed by their community council and if need be relayed to Midlothian Council.

I have served on Eskbank & Newbattle and Dalkeith community councils and to my knowledge there was never any need for anything to be discussed in private, as community councils have no power, ie, monetary or policy wise.

My question to Midlothian Council is: “Who are these councillors advocating this move? Let us know who they are.”

James Watt

Whitehill Village, Dalkeith

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