Plans to turn Bonnyrigg bowling club into a nursery and community centre given the green light

Sam Elliot  of Bonnyrigg After School Club, at the former Poltonhall Bowling Club.
Sam Elliot of Bonnyrigg After School Club, at the former Poltonhall Bowling Club.
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A Bonnyrigg bowling club, taken on by a local community group, will be turned into a children’s nursery by day and community centre at night.

Plans to convert Poltonhall Bowling Green in Bonnyrigg into a nursery have been given the go-ahead by Midlothian Council. Bonnyrigg After School Club took ownership of the club as part of a community asset transfer earlier this year and will open a new nursery at the site on Eskdale Drive, with plans to create a community facility for evenings and weekends.

Sam Elliot, quality assurance manager at Bonnyrigg After School Club, said: “It’s exciting. We are not quite there yet though, waiting on the building warrant.

“It’s planning permission in principle. But to actually transform the site and get builders in we need the warrant. We hope to get it by the end of the year or January. Then we would be looking to open around March.

“There is a fair bit of work inside to do. We are extending the building ever so slightly. We are putting a cabin there also, so it will look like two buildings.”

Sam spoke of the demand for community facilities.

He said: “It’s a huge thing, groups needing facilities. Groups need it for just a meeting space, yoga, elderly groups, there are lots of people looking for somewhere. If they can’t find affordable facilities these groups dissolve. And, we are a partner with the local authority to delivering the 1140 hours a year of free child care. So this will be a big benefit to families in Bonnyrigg.”

The existing pavilion will be used by the nursery, with the green itself providing an outdoor play area. Sam hopes locals can make even more use of the land: “The site will be available for the community as it is. There will be opportunities for groups to use the pavilion. But phase two would be to put another building up there.

“There is scope for a lot of things. We will obviously consult with the community and see what the mood is.”

Bonnyrigg After School Club received £50,000 in funding from the National Lottery-funded People’s Projects competition earlier this year, which will be injected into the new facility.