Thursday April 28th 2022
A potential move to close Midlothian Council’s headquarters as staff increasingly work from home is one of the major talking points in Dalkeith ahead of the election.
It was estimated last year that more than a half of the council’s 2,300 staff were equipped to work remotely and more flexible practices were introduced.
The impact on Dalkeith town centre itself and its regeneration plans has been at the heart of chat on the doorsteps as the campaign has got underway.
Meanwhile the hot topic of the council’s use of weedkiller has also made headlines.
In Danderhall which is included in the Dalkeith Ward, a group of volunteers challenged the council’s use of toxic glyphosate weedkillers on public space and were granted the right to take over green areas in its community.
The Danderhall Guerilla Gardeners were born and have since received cross-party support from their local councillors.
The group went on to raise the profile of the community and honour its mining heritage with signage and a book as it highlights how community empowerment can work, raising questions about how the local authority moves forward and whether more community groups could take on similar projects.
2017 election results
Colin Cassidy, SNP 27.2% FPv (1,142 total)
Stephen Curran, Labour 23.2% FPv (1, 051.6 total)
Margot Russell, Labour 19.1% FPv (1,317.5 total)
All three sitting councillors in Dalkeith are standing to keep their seats in the ward at the election.
SNP councillor Colin Cassidy, who was first past the post in the 2017 race to represent the ward has already questioned the decision by the other main parties not to field enough candidates across the county to take overall control of the council.
Referring to the decision by Labour and the Conservatives not to try and win enough seats to win a majority, he said: “you have to wonder what backroom deals have already been done.”
The defending Labour councillors have said they hope their work in the local community will win them another term.
Stephen Curran said: “Representing the area where I grew up has been such a privilege. I hope I have shown that I am committed to Midlothian and to our communities.”
And Margot Russell, who was the only incumbent to return at the 2017 election said she hopes to continue her role as Older Peoples Champion and “continue to serve the community that I have served for many years.”
Full list of candidates Dalkeith ward
– Marion Black, Scottish Green Party
– Jamie Bryant, Alba Party
– Colin Cassidy, SNP
– Stephen Curran, Scottish Labour Party
– Karen Green. SNP
– Margot Russell, Scottish Labour Party
– Mark Wells, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
Midlothian Councillors work together in ‘Grown up council’ to agree council tax freeze and rent rise