Coalescence (the merging of towns and villages) is a new problem

Communities are disappearing through coalescence (the merging of towns and villages as they grow.) This is a problem in Midlothian where areas are being left behind and side-lined.

There is a need for preservation of community identity and guidelines for how developments in smaller communities happen. Villages are getting absorbed into larger areas with different identities, and their individuality is being forgotten.

Cheap housing is filling gaps even though it is not good for people.

There is a need to consult citizens on how the buildings look; all the houses are the same, which is horrible. The driving force for this needs to be the community not economics or politics. New towns might be the answer instead of adding houses to existing small towns.

Developers develop on ‘attractive’ areas, but by developing this, ‘attraction’ is lessened so there needs to be some way to protects the quality of space.


Why the contribution is important

This is important to maintain the identity of areas, as if that is lost it destroys community identity and disempowers the community.

by FairerScotlandAdmin2 on November 02, 2015 at 03:04PM

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  • Posted by alasdairmathers November 17, 2015 at 14:04

    Midlothian area is experiencing large scale development , and the comment above indicates how much some people living here feel a lack of control in matters affecting their community , it also recognises the need to do far more than build houses to create or sustain a sense of community .
    Just for background , decisions about the volume of housing to be built in Midlothian were made some years ago in the 'SESPLAN' arrangements which cover the whole of South Fife, East, West , and Midlothian, Edinburgh and Scottish Borders( currently under a 5 year review) . The Scottish Government has a direct role in accepting or rejecting the scale of development designated for each council area. Democratically elected local councillors led the negotiations between the six councils in SESPlan and between the SESPlan area and Scottish Government . The planning process needs to (by law) balance the interests of economic growth with a sustainable environment and meeting the need for housing - which of course includes the need to provide low cost housing for low income households .- (meeting a real local social need).
     The local development plan , the subject of extensive public engagement work for the @past 2 years , can only choose where to allow development of housing within Midlothian not how much housing there is , as the SESPlan process has already decided this . In an area as small geographically as Midlothian there are very limited choices about locations and many constraints about where new housing can be built- this generally means looking for where it can connect to roads , drains ,sewers, water supplies , power supplies , pubic transport , schools and GP's , shops etc. most easily or where such can be brought there/ built at a cost that can be managed , where there is the minimum loss of green space -socially where this has a protected designation for scenic value , agricultural value or biodiversity value- for example the Pentland hills and Moorfoot hills which tale up much of Midlothian or the Esk Valley's (North and South) .
    A new town is being built at Shawfair ( @4,000 houses) , which will include new schools , shops , community and leisure facilities . The local plan does make efforts to avoid communities being merged into one another or swamped by the scale of any development , but the perception of those of us already living here facing change at the scale currently emerging is of course different. We see areas change character and new families seeking homes moving in - juts as many of us our parents did in previous phases of development.
      As a resident of Penicuik , arriving there in 1973 , I would acknowledge that in my own experience 'old town' residents felt "swamped" by the scale and pace of development in the mid 60's to late 70's and that it has taken families like mine to stay , bring up our children there and see them identifying as local rather than being considered outsiders . It would be good to find ways to speed up this process by inviting new residents to join existing community organisations and groups , and welcoming the talents skills and new perspectives they bring us . This is what community leaders in Bonnyrigg /Lasswade/Poltonhall have has been seeking to do with the new Hopefield estates, using web blogs and other social media to make connections , its what the welcome packs put through doors in new housing beside Woodburn in Dalkeith were designed to encourage . It is up to us as local residents whether we have fragmented us and them or grow our communities by welcoming and drawing our neighbours into our sense of community
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