We need to reinvent the Town Centre of Dalkeith

Thursday September 6th 2018

Dalkeith Town Centre South

Written by Douglas Flett, One Dalkeith

Town Centres throughout the UK are suffering. The old market town centres, the High Streets and the city centres are all feeling the strain. Most retail has moved out of town. And now, the out-of-town retailing is moving into warehouses with a home delivery or mail order coming directly from online purchases. Online shopping is estimated to be 33% of our purchasing by 2030.

This means that we need to reinvent the Town Centre of Dalkeith.

One Dalkeith has 5 ‘petals’ or themes

1. Arts/Culture/Heritage
2. Environment
3. Community Facilities
4. Economy
5. The Town Centre.

At One Dalkeith’s public meeting in May this year, small groups discussed each theme. The Town Centre group buzzed with comments – “for people… regeneration… entertainment… parking… community facilities… farmers market… modern… traffic study… pedestrian… children… design competition… character… poor housing… greenery… hub… café… arts…”, and much more!

We need to get ahead of the trends. And we need your ideas on how to do it. There is no one-size-fits-all model of regeneration for all towns. Every town and High Street is unique. In Dalkeith we need to come up with our own recipe. So we are asking you to imagine, to dream, and to help shape an exciting vision for your town.

Three years ago Midlothian Council commissioned a design for the redevelopment for the Town Centre. That issue has been quiet for some time but now the Council have set up a Working Group to explore options for the regeneration of Dalkeith. Councillor Margot Russell, chair, has extended an invitation to One Dalkeith to participate in this cross party, short life, working group.

The only temporary need within the town centre, recently proposed by the Council, is to use part of the vacant Jarnac Court to house 20 homeless people. They said that this use would be for 5 years only. While the remodelling of the building could involve an expenditure of about £0.5 million, it is reckoned that the Council would save £227,000 each year which they currently pay for B&B accommodation costs. What do you think about their proposal?

We need to hear from you on the whole Town Centre. Your comments can include anything that relates to a great town centre; business rates, ownership, planning rules and historic listing, landscaping, artwork, gathering space, walking space, vehicle routes, delivery vehicles access, bus routes, attractions, historic features, sitting spaces, income generators, useful businesses, attractive businesses… and lots more. What do you think? Tell us at One Dalkeith.

Have conversations with friends and neighbours about it. Get their ideas. Try your ideas out on them. The first thing to do is to join One Dalkeith at www.onedalkeith.wildapricot.org. We can help make the talk of the town, the centre of the town.

Dalkeith Town Centre – Your Town, Your Hopes, Your Ideas

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