Not the right place for a youth hub

Worried about the proposal to site a facility bang in the middle of the woods? Wildlife is under even more stress – yet another deer was killed on Spott Road just the other night.

Spaces for nature are running out.

Here is the letter from DCWG to the East Lothian Courier. Worth a read.

In response to the article in the Courier of March 3 about Councillor Hampshire’s plans for a youth hub at Lochend Woods, Dunbar Community Woodland Group (DCWG) have deep concerns about the proposed location of this hub.

To be clear, we support a youth hub if it will provide meaningful things for young people – it would presumably be crucial to consult them.

DCWG committee members met Cllr Hampshire in January to voice objections to the location. He agreed to a further meeting with the directors of Dunbar Community Development and Heritage Trust (DCDHT) in February. Cllr Hampshire has not responded to email requests.

Cllr Hampshire states “the woodland area is in pretty poor condition and there has never been any management take place”. DCWG has never had any role or responsibility for that part of Lochend Wood. It is in the privately owned 15 hectares at Hallhill West and North. DCWG have successfully managed a separate 18 hectares of Lochend Wood since 2007.

As Cllr Hampshire describes, drainage ditches have collapsed at his proposed site. It is now waterlogged, not suitable for consideration and in urgent need of restoration. This is a large wild area, habitat to wildlife – deer, foxes, possibly badgers, many bird species, some rare, and important flora.

Lochend Wood will soon be completely surrounded by built environment.

Development would be catastrophic for wildlife, already suffering from significant habitat loss and stress. Cllr Hampshire acknowledges “there is still wildlife in the woodland and we will do everything we can to make sure they are not affected”.

Clearly the best way to protect this area for wildlife, including nocturnal species, is to NOT fill it with floodlights and noisy, boisterous humans.

He continues: “People complain about young people hanging around and doing things they should not be doing.”

Yet this proposal aims to attract kids to a location that is isolated and not overseen. This is dangerous. Emergency services have been called to deal with gatherings in the woods in recent times – ambulances for vulnerable young adolescents suffering serious alcohol effects, fire services, and police to disperse large groups. This location would create a perfect storm for trouble.

His vision – a “community cafe”, open till 10 – would cost tens of thousands of pounds to install basic services to the site. How could this be sustainable? Even the Bleachingfield Centre cafe, with the library on site, close to the town centre and the primary school, was not viable. He suggests young people could watch television at the hub. Why not Bleachingfield or the Hallhill Centre? Why waste precious resources?

Great new facilities – The Space at DunBear Park – are planned. McDonald’s is already a hub for young people and is near bus stops. It would be the perfect place to locate the hub adjacent to the space somewhere where kids can have some freedom, not under close adult scrutiny, yet where they could still access adult help at Asda if needed. DCWG are completely against this proposal.

Eva Hurley (convenor), Fiona MacDonald (secretary), Isobel Knox (treasurer), Angela McLeman, Libi Newell, Ute Penny and all the committee of Dunbar Community Woodland Group.

Categorised as News

By dunbarwoods

Dunbar Community Woodland Group Protecting Locally Important Habitat help by donating or volunteering