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Café Culture Penicuik?

The bakery chain ‘Greggs’ are planning to expand into the public precinct as part of their “bakeover” of their Penicuik store whilst around the corner, Scotmid’s plans for another hot-food takeaway are set to be rejected, after the Community Council’s and local businesses’ objections.

Penicuik’s popular “Greggs” bakery in Unit 4 John Street, are hoping to utilise public space, outside their eatery, for external seating, if recently submitted plans are to be believed. As part of their refurbishment of their store, they intend to create internal and external seating areas, pushing the store’s aims to operate not only as a takeaway but a café. It is the first store within the precinct to utilise the paved pedestrian zone in front of their unit. The plans will be considered by Midlothian Council’s planning committee in the coming months.

Meanwhile on Penicuik’s High Street, Scotmid’s plans to ‘change the use’ of 24 High Street into a class three food outlet, have been set back after Penicuik Community Council formerly objected them. Previously submitted plans to convert the former butchers into a hot food takeaway have been objected to by Penicuik’s Community Council due to the high concentration of eateries in the vicinity of the unit. In a response to the application the PCC said:

The ex-butchers shop has been empty for several years, and while it would be welcome to have it open rather than closed, the council thought it would not be compatible with the image that is needed for the High Street.

They later go onto say that the vision of the planned BID is to “boost existing business in the town and to encourage new businesses” whilst reaffirming that they would like to see it used as a shop again in the future, whilst noting it will likely stay vacant for some time.

A petition has also be submitted to the council, signed by the owners of all the surviving independent businesses, calling for the application to be refused.

Plans for a takeaway at 24 High Street have been resurrected after a failed application in 2010. Scotmid claim that their letting agency, Shepherd Commercial, have advised them that a change of use may finally lead them to attracting a new buyer. However it seems the public and the community council would both like to the unit better used, with some of our readers telling us their views on the matter:

Old fashioned tea room, butchers, green grocers, bakers, fish mongers…but to make them work the rent and rates DO need to be sensible/workable to let small businesses survive against larger supermarkets/outlets. set up friendly delivery services for those who cannot get out easily.

by Sharon Ainslie in response to our question of what you would rather see.

The town centre is an embarrassment, honestly what is there to attract shoppers? 5 charity shops, 2 chemists and a hotchpotch of others.

by Johnny Beskow

The plans for the change of use will be considered in the next two weeks with a decision date set for no later than 5 February.

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What is your vision for the High Street? Are you happy to see businesses utilising the precinct or would you rather see the back of the pedestrian zone? Tell us below or submit a letter to the editor by emailing