Letters to the Editor

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Support for campaign

As a local minister serving the greater Dalkeith, Lasswade and Bonnyrigg area I am repeatedly hearing the cry “Give us a Hub!” Indeed the communities of Midlothian seemed to have suffered greatly at the hands of the Grim Reaper ripping up community centres and other community assets. We all appreciate that times are hard and therefore we have to cut our cloth appropriately. Yet to be fair, I also acknowledge and welcome the investment in our new schools and the new facilities that they could offer to the community.

But there is still a grass roots call for a “Hub.” (Personally I would still call them Community Centres.) Places for people to gather for a wide range of activities and functions, nurturing live and active communities not just dormitories of the city.

However at the same time as I hear “Give us a Hub!” I also hear “oh no, not more houses!” Leaving me wondering if the powers that be are holding a holistic vision for our communities or is one department looking for growth, enticing new people to the area while another works to make the place less community friendly cutting our community resources.

Surely, more houses mean more people? More people, more revenue and therefore a greater demand for Hubs?

Over the past few years I and other community representatives have been invited to take part in “neighbourhood planning meetings.”

This is a Government initiative to give residents a greater voice and help them raise concerns, while working in “partnership” with key agencies like the council, the police and NHS representatives. I welcome these opportunities to work with the wider community. However, from my perspective, it has always felt like a very unequal partnership between residents and council. I hope I am wrong, but at times I have been left wondering if our partners are deaf. “Give us a Hub” is the cry in Bonnyrigg, in Gorebridge, in Dalkeith. I pray that as decisions are made regarding more housing for Midlothian that some of that increased revenue would be ear marked for Community Hubs. I also believe that our council should be actively working to bring community groups together. Encouraging collective partnership in running “Hubs” as this too could be widely beneficial for the whole community.

Yours supporting the campaign for a Hub

Peter Harris

Rector of St Leonard’s Lasswade and Bonnyrigg with St Mary’s Dalkeith

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