Thursday September 1st 2022
Artists impression of new Dalkeith town centre ideas.
Hundreds of residents of Dalkeith have been taking part in a consultation on the future of the town’s centre as Midlothian Council creates a post pandemic draft masterplan.
A pedestrian central square, new cycle paths and walkways and street art are all ideas being considered to create a vision for the town.
It follows months of consultations this year with drop in meetings, online debates and even guided walking tours to let people see for themselves part of their hometown they might not have come across before.
Midlothian Council’s head of development Fiona Clandillon said the level of public engagement in the consultations had been encouraging and highlighted the desire from people to see change in the heart of the town.
She said: “We are challenging people with a range of ideas for the town centre and the feedback has been high and really encouraging.
“Many of the proposals we are putting forward come from the responses we had from people during earlier discussions and this latest consultation will help us draw up a long term strategy for the town centre.”
Among the ideas put to people in Dalkeith are whether the large concrete buildings which create a centre around Jarnac Court should be demolished or retained and improved.
Feedback from previous discussions with residents found that in general there was “enthusiasm” to build on what is already in place and keep open spaces.
However findings from earlier discussions revealed: “While there is love for the town’s historic buildings and the old ‘closes’, many told us that there is too much concrete and that buildings feel neglected and in need of redevelopment.
“Young people were keen to see buildings reused for environmental reasons. Street art was suggested as a way of adding much needed colour.”
The findings also saw people keen to see the central area pedestrianised, with seating and making space for outdoor cultural events and socialising.
Residents and business owners were keen to see cafes and other business allowed to ‘spill out’ onto the street in nice weather, adding to the ‘central square feel’.
The current consultation is taking place until this weekend with a physical exhibition in Dalkeith Library until Saturday and online on the council website until Sunday.
Ms Clandillon said people had been keen to get involved with hard copies of a survey for residents to fill in running out in the library as the consultation began and needing restocked and 150 comments online on the first day.
She said: “The question we hear most often is ‘when will we see these things happen?’.
“This is a long term project which will stretch over 10 to 15 years but for the team it will also be a case of identifying which projects can be brought forward quickly as we are aware of the importance of people seeing action early on.
“Residents have given us their views and got involved in the consultation and we want to maintain the public support and make sure they remain invested as we move forward with their vision of the town centre.”
The consultation can be found at www.midlothian.gov.uk/Have-Your-Say-DalkeithTweet Share on Facebook