Friday June 25th 2021
Following more than a year of enforced remote working due to the pandemic restrictions the council is looking to adapt its working practices and is investigating rationalising its council buildings in Dalkeith or even their demolition.
The council staff have been given a commitment that the current working practices will continue and the council does not expect staff to return to offices and other work settings if they have been successfully able to work from home during the pandemic as many have found advantages of working remotely.
In a document due to discussed at the full council meeting next Tuesday (29th June 2021) it says
“In rationalising our existing and traditional office estate, these town centre assets can support housing led regeneration, with social and affordable housing replacing mostly empty office space to address housing needs as well as primary and secondary employment opportunities.
“If office rationalisation does not proceed, the condition of the Council’s property portfolio together with the town centre retail, residential and community facilities and environment will continue to deteriorate.
“Council property assets in Dalkeith town centre are generally ageing, are in a declining state of repair and do not meet current standards in terms of efficiency and sustainability. In addition, the environment of the town centre requires improvements in its vibrancy and sense of community and council office rationalisation provides an opportunity for redevelopment.
“A housing led regeneration opportunity would involve the change, improvement and sustainability of the public realm focussed on residential, retail and commercial premises within the area, with an indicative approach outlined at the Seminar.
“A Housing Revenue Capital project can provide financial viability in achieving the main outcome of the need to address the decline and deterioration of the environment and sense of community in the area. Housing Services have made acquisitions where opportunities arise to purchase properties within Dalkeith town centre to form the basis of strong asset strategy.”
The options under consideration are: