Report on
Cousland Community Consultation 2012
Development Plan 2014 - 2019

Our Community Voice

Our priorities and goals represent the opinions of
the majority of Cousland residents. These were
expressed in a Community Survey which had a
response rate of 70% (85 out of 120 households.)
This survey reflected issues and ideas first raised
in a consultation exercise carried out as part of the
village Gala Day 2012.

A link to this Community Plan can be found on the
Cousland website www.cousland.net
" Cousland is a friendly, safe and peaceful place to live"

Summary of Our Priorities and Goals

The Physical Environment

 To safeguard against future
opencast, infill and other
similar projects
 To support ecologically sound
and environmentally friendly
 To improve access to and
connections with existing off
road walks
Page 3
Services and Amenities.

 To benefit from improved
broadband speed
 To have a mains gas supply
into the village.
 To explore the feasibility of a
shop in the village

Page 4
Our Local Heritage

 To be part of a tourist trail
development featuring the site
of castle/nunnery, smiddy and
industrial archaeological sites
of gas/oil and limestone
 To encourage and support
further archaeological
investigation on the windmill
and pottery sites.
Page 5

 To value neighbourliness
 To have a place to meet and
chat (i.e. a community café)
 To value Village Hall activities
highly and continue to
encourage people to help
organise one off events
 To explore the development of
the former school and grounds
for the good of the community.
Page 6
Physical Environment

Cousland’s quiet, beautiful and safe location scored highly with residents. The
good balance of living in a rural location but close to the city, views and scenery,
wildlife, light local traffic, space and good air quality were all singled out for
mention in specific comments.

Key areas of interest

Positive actions already led by villagers
Opencast and other major developments
One of the highest questionnaire responses was the wish to safeguard the village against
opencast, infills etc. in future.

 92% of respondents agreed this was important to them
 84% agreed that Cousland and surrounds should only support developments that
are ecologically sound and environmentally friendly.

Footpaths and Cycling
Residents enjoy walks from the village, but expressed concern about using roads without
any pavement. 79% of respondents agree that more walks and connections to existing
walks should be developed.

Villagers united with the wider community and successfully campaigned against
proposed opencast developments in the local area.
(CAAOC – Communities Against Airfield Open Cast)

Volunteers restored and promoted an old pathway with the support of the
Community Council. This new route (pictured) provides a sheltered cross-country
shortcut towards Ormiston with abundant views and wildlife. Existing paths to
Fordel, Whitehill and the Pencaitland Railway are accessible only by roads.

Services and Amenities

Many people value Cousland’s
proximity to Edinburgh and
Dalkeith offering residents with
cars good access to work places,
shops, cultural, and business
centres. Residents appreciate the
recent investment in street lighting
and the areas where roads have
been maintained. The recycling
centre and regular waste collection
scheme are valued by residents.

Key areas of interest

Broadband provision
Residents are increasingly dependent on fast broadband connection as more
people work from home via the internet. 78% of respondents agreed that local
broadband service is far too slow (about 0.92 MB/s for download and 0.34 MB/s
upload). The demand is for a local upgrade.

Gas supply
51% of residents would be keen to have a mains gas supply in the village.

61% of respondents are concerned about local transport. Only 36 % of
respondents agreed that the present bus service was a useful service for them.
Suggested improvements included evening buses (11 people), and a community
bus (35 people). Links to the Doctor at Pathhead and to a rail station were also

Community Shop
66% of respondents said they would use a community shop. 15 people said that
they would help with this on a rota basis.

Local Heritage

There is a very active local History Group in the village, established in 1999.
Cousland Smiddy Trust was formed in 1986 and was formed to preserve and
develop the Smiddy, its buildings and garden.

Key areas of interest

Positive Action already led by villagers
The Smiddy and smiddy cottage museum
70% of people said that it is important to them that the building beside the cottage
should be developed as a multi-use space for educational research and continued
investigations into Cousland’s history and that there should be space for craft
based workshops and courses.

Castle / Nunnery – Part of a tourist trail
61% are interested in seeing the Castle/Nunnery site becoming a focus for tourist
development as part of a trail supported by the Tourist Board.
 information boards
 a visitor centre/café
 links to the industrial heritage of limestone oil and gas

 Smiddy preserved
 Community archaeology digs organised for Castle / Nunnery and Pottery
 Limeworks railway carts (hutches) installed in village.


“ Very friendly supportive neighbours”
“ It’s a good place to bring up small children, but not so good when they are older” .

Cousland has a tradition of
community events organised
by individuals or the Village
Hall Committee. People in
the survey expressed their
willingness to form small
groups to organise and help
with one off events. This will
allow for new ideas and an
enrichment of existing
community events without
people feeling they have to
serve on a committee.

Key areas of interest

Positive Actions Already Led by Villagers
Meeting place
Many expressed a desire for a place to meet casually without there having to
be an organised event.

Village Hall
People see the hall as central in village life and want to support its use.

The former school (owned by Midlothian Council)
People in the community (79%) were keen for the building to be redeveloped
for the good of the village and surrounding villages. Out of this, 42% wanted
to use it to improve the sports facilities for the residents and the surrounding
Tynewater community

The Village Hall – Existing community use includes Hogmanay, Fitness Training,
Guides, Village Gala Day, Parent and Toddlers, Indoor Bowling, S.W.R.I meetings,
History Society meetings, Youth Club and Majority (senior citizens) Club. It is also
hired out for private functions and one off events for village groups.

Regular Village events that are held
These include Bonfire Night, Carol singing, Hogmanay and the Village Gala Day

Other Community activities: These include Plotters (organic allotments), Boules,
C.R.A.P.S (Cousland Real Ale Poetry Soc.), Cousland Smiddy Trust and led
village walks

Other Areas of Focus

‘What would you change about Cousland?’ generated these additional areas of
focus from the initial survey.

 Roads.
Residents want roads to be kept in better repair.
 Sports facilities.
There is village interest in a variety of leisure and sporting activities being
 Power supply.
The electrical supply to the village has been subject to frequent power cuts,
a recent cut lasted for more than 24 hours. This leaves residents,
particularly the elderly, at risk. Reliable power was cited as something
people would like to change about Cousland.
 Shop.
The highest number of respondents said they would like a community shop,
many people saying that they would participate in helping with this.
 Children
While Cousland is a great place to live with young children, it has fewer
amenities for older children
 Bus
Better / more frequent bus service to Edinburgh and to the train station for
commuting for work. Possibility of a community bus service linking to other
villages, doctors surgery etc.


Developments and Actions for the Next Five Years.

This plan identifies key areas of interest and concern. A series of open planning
meetings were held, from which action plans and working groups have been

11 areas of interest for future work have been identified by villagers with 33 people
volunteering themselves for work within this. This also includes people who voiced
an interest in being involved with heritage and community transport.
These will be addressed in the future.

Area Progress 2013 Action 2014 - 2019

Opencast CAAOC is again active in
safeguarding our
environment, submitting
comments on the proposal to
include Airfield as an area of
search in the Midlothian Local
Development Plan.
Continue to monitor, canvas,
represent and act upon people’s
opposition to local opencast
Walks A group of people is exploring
and developing information
and maps and encouraging
use of existing paths.

These will be printed and also
available on the Cousland
Future action will include
developing paths which can be
accessed with minimum road
Services and

Broadband Contact has been made with
the local MSP who is
interested in improving
services in this area.
Ongoing discourse with BT about
local upgrades and MSP about
campaigning around this.
Gas supply,
electricity supply,
roads and

Future action needed by
Transport Future action needed by


Developments and Actions for the Next Five Years (Cont.)

Area Progress 2013 Action 2014 - 2019

Smiddy The Cousland Smiddy Trust
is in the process of applying
for funding to further
conserve and develop the
Smiddy and its environs as
multi use community space.
Construction and use of
proposed multi use community

Tourist trail and
History Group continuing to
record, archive and publicise
Cousland history.
Future action needed by

Place to meet and
Regular monthly café
established and run by
Investigate how better to create a
community hub / other events
People willing to
A bi-monthly village
newsletter is being produced

More villagers have come
forward to help with
organising village events and
activities. Village Hall
committee has expanded,
village events are better

Expand production team and
seek funding for publication.

Maintain and build on community

Former school and
A group is investigating
possibilities for use of the
former school and grounds
for community benefit. An
interest in an Asset Transfer
has been registered with
Midlothian Council.

Further consultation with village
on ideas and outcomes.

With many thanks to the people of Cousland who made this happen and The
Regeneration Development Team, Midlothian Council for their support.

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