Comment: Think Penicuik this May
Election victors should speak for the largest town in Midlothian
Council elections are nearing once again and it’s time for Penicuikians to be selfish, to build a better town for the next generation.
Before I get on my soapbox, let me reassure you, this comment piece is not a piece of political mudslinging. I do not intend to persuade you to back any political party, or indeed to criticise any current or past council administrations. This editorial is about having a vision.
This May, you will be faced with the usual slew of candidates. Some will be old, recognisable faces, some may indeed be new. It does not matter. What matters is what these local candidates envisage for Penicuik.
In a world being tormented by the rise of populism, it would be easy to now diverge into a speech where I declare that “Penicuik must come first”. For the sakes of everyone’s sanity lets consider this on a more rational note.
Residents in Penicuik primarily live here as a place to commute from, bound for the City of Edinburgh. Recently however, there would appear to be days when one could commute by plane from London and still make it to South Gyle before the downhearted Penicuikian. We have a significant infrastructure problem and the reality is that we are going to have to live through years of delays and disruption before it can be fixed. We therefore need to act fast, for what is Penicuik if it is not a commuter town?
Our elected officials are there to represent our ward and whilst I do care about the wellbeing of those in Dalkeith as much as I do here, we must get selfish. The elected official has to promote change for Penicuik. They have to understand what residents are faced with on a daily basis: parents who sit in endless queues on the A702, pupils who attend outdated and crumbling secondary schools, elders who cannot buy the simplest of goods from within their own town centre. The list goes on.
The best person must propose solutions of these issues. Do they back the A701 Bypass or do they offer a better option? Do they desire for a reconnection to the railway network? Do they propose to promote Penicuik’s Town Centre to businesses far and wide? Do they understand the need to provide a new secondary school that works for all of the town? These are questions that one must ask themselves when faced with the ballot paper.
This council election is crucial for the town, for it is perhaps the last before a tremendous population surge, thanks to long awaited housing developments in the north. If the candidates we elect do not propose solutions for our problems, or are not capable of fighting for our town, then Penicuik will head into a new era congested, decaying and ultimately bereft of any sense of community that we so desperately desire.
I challenge you this May to not chose a local councillor based on political affiliation or past allegiance but to chose a candidate who has the drive to battle for the future of our town.