DESPITE what many people expect, our cash-strapped local authorities can’t do everything. We expect them to educate our children, recycle our waste, keep our roads pothole-free and clean the snow in front of our paths in winter.
But our councils need help. Which is why the move by Midlothian Council to reject a community plan for a new leisure hub in Bonnyrigg is surprising. A local group has sensible plans to redevelop a disused leisure centre into a multi-purpose space for the whole area.
The local authority’s report has identified holes in the group’s business plan.
Yes, of course, there are gaps. But instead of saying “this isn’t perfect – reject”, the council should be working with the group to improve the proposal and give it the best possible chance of success.
So far, Midlothian Council hasn’t done this. In the longer term, we need more community projects like this to support the good work our town halls do. In many ways, the Bonnyrigg hub is a test case. Let’s help people, help themselves. Let’s hope the councillors see sense when a decision is made on Tuesday.
It’s a real example of thinking inside the box.
Plans to transform all-but redundant red telephone boxes into shoe-shine stations may seem more Manhattan than Royal Mile but with the number of US tourists trudging up and down who’s to say it won’t be a success?
Certainly we would support any moves to extend the life of the iconic phone boxes and find a new use for them in the 21st century. Whether that is through this novel idea or as something completely different remains to be seen. But surely anything would be better than allowing them to fall into disrepair through vandalism and lack of use.