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February 2, 2010

Council and community at loggerheads

Councils across Scotland own properties that they no longer require and some that have fallen into disrepair due to a lack of investment.  In many cases, these building hold great significance for the local community and if given the opportunity and resources, many local organisations would be willing to have these important local assets transferred to them rather than risk losing them.  At the very least their needs to be some kind of open dialogue with community groups in order to avoid the scenes witnessed recently in Pencuik


DEMOLITION workers began tearing down a Victorian school in the heart of Penicuik yesterday, despite a campaign to buy it and restore it as a community arts centre.

Campaigners, who have raised £150,000 to buy the Jackson Lane School and collected a petition of 1,500 names, say Midlothian Council has ridden roughshod over the wishes of local people.

Chairman of the Penicuik Development Trust Roger Kelly said: “It is crazy for anybody to be pulling down a building when people say they want it.”

A spokesman said the demolition of the school had been agreed at a full council meeting and that the building was deemed to be unsafe. 

He said the building had been on the market for three years, but that it had not received a formal offer and business plan from the trust.