Public Opinion wins through

Tuesday September 22nd 2015

Lauder Road

Written by Editor Phil Bowen

A procedural technicality and the weight of public opinion has resulted in Midlothian Council agreeing to install CCTV cameras in the Lauder Road area, as well as source a mobile CCTV unit to be used until the permanent ones can be installed.

As reported in Midlothian View last month there was widespread disappointed by residents after the council blocked a move to improve safety in the Lauder Road/Kippielaw area.

In the August council meeting, Councillor Kenny Young, Labour, had proposed a motion calling for urgent action for CCTV in Lauder Road, but the SNP led council proposed a full counter motion to consider CCTV across the whole of Midlothian as part of the Council Budget for 2016/17. It was this motion that was passed and not Councillor Young’s.

However, following the meeting the SNP motion was ruled out of order by the Council’s solicitor.

Full “counter motions” are not allowed. A councillor can either table their own motion, seven days before the meeting, or they can amend someone else’s motion. This meant the administration fell foul of a procedural technicality

As a result Councillor Young’s motion was the motion that counted. This had called for council officials to urgently prepare a report for the September Council meeting on the feasibility of CCTV cameras in the Lauder Road area. The report was presented to the full council meeting today (Tuesday).

This time there was cross party support for two fixed cameras and at Councillor Young’s suggestion, for the borrowing of a temporary mobile CCTV unit, which can be put in place quickly and will provide CCTV coverage until the permanent ones can be installed.

It is felt that the councillors changed their minds and voted in favour this time due to the reaction and weight of public opinion on the issue. All the publicity and pressure reminded decision-makers that people want to be listened to.

Residents had said that CCTV would make them feel much safer walking to and from home, especially in the darker months.

Midlothian View asked Kenny Young, Labour Councillor for Midlothian East, for comment. He said:

“This is a good victory for people who live in the Lauder Road area and is something that I believe will help give residents and visitors the safer streets that they deserve. These cameras will also help to reassure people after the serious crime that has taken place along this road in the past.

“Obviously with the darker months on their way, residents rightly wanted CCTV installed with a bit of urgency, and I’m very pleased that today’s decision by the Council should deliver that.”


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