Council and police set to merge HQs on school site

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Council and police headquarters are set to be built on the former site of Dalkeith High School in Midlothian.

Talks have taken place between police and council officials to mirror the set-up of West Lothian, where the authorities are situated in the same building.

Independent councillor Peter de Vink said: “This is an option we are considering. Our current office buildings, of which there are 18, are barely fit for purpose and the maintenance costs are astronomical.

“It’s not 100 per cent certain that a new building will be at the former high school but it is certainly a site we are looking at. The money that would be saved, including reduced maintenance and energy bills, would be very substantial.”

However, Labour MP for Midlothian David Hamilton fears the council’s move could have an adverse effect on the local community.

He gave Penicuik Town Hall and the Library Headquarters in Loanhead as examples of two buildings which would be under threat after the removal of council offices.

Mr Hamilton said: “The council is supposed to engage with the communities it represents, not reduce facilities, and so if this goes ahead it will be against the grain. Financially it may make sense but if these facilities are taken away it could be a disaster.”

In January the council confirmed it was considering responses to a public consultation on the site, and hoped to begin building in 2013.