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Town Centre Endures Gains and Losses

It’s all change in Penicuik’s town centre, however new signings are being offset by further losses.

This week, there is both good and bad news for Penicuik’s ailing town centre. On the negative side, the British Heart Foundation has chosen not renew their lease come May, meaning their charity shop in the shopping precinct will close. The final day of trading will be May 9th.

BHF Scotland Shops Area Manager, Pauline Davie, said:

BHF Scotland is always seeking to get the most out of its shops in order to be able to help as many people as possible who are affected by heart disease. Sometimes we need to move the locations of certain shops to be able to make as much profit as possible, which goes towards funding essential research into heart disease and supporting those touched by it.

We would like to thank all our staff, volunteers and customers who have supported the shop over the years.

The charity says it will continue to collect any large items or furniture from the town for free. Their nearest branch will be in Dalkeith.

Savills are now marketing three vacant properties in the development including the former Chen’s Kitchen and Cheque Centre units.

However The Penicuik Cuckoo has learned that long term “To Let” unit, 40 John Street, has been acquired by discount fashion retailer Store Twenty One. The former M&Co unit was marketed at £55,000 pa after the previous tenant pulled out. In the short term, St Margaret of Scotland’s Hospice opened a charity shop in the space. Whilst unconfirmed, the hospice shop is expected to relocate within the town.

Store Twenty One was established in 1932 and supplied stores in London’s west end, including Marks and Spencers, with items of clothing. When they divested into opening their own stores, they sold unused pieces of clothing deemed unsatisfactory to the major retailers. However in 1984, the selling of “seconds” ceased and the stores started to manufacture their own lines of clothing. Since then, the business has grown and they now have over 200 stores across the United Kingdom, including one in Musselburgh. Their stores specialise in clothing for men, women and children along with homeware.

Jobs for the store are currently being advertised but an opening date has not yet been announced.

Elsewhere in the town, a takeaway specialising in kebabs is to open in the former butchers on High Street. Further down the road, a planning application has been made by the new owners of the Railway Tavern. The plans are for the demolition of temporary structures, to the rear of the public house, and the erection of a two storey extension. Two flats would be created above the ground floor for the management, whilst on street level, the floor plan would be divided to provide a space for a bar and an alternative space for a restaurant. A “smokers den” would also be created. The plans can be viewed, and commented on, here.

These changes to the retail market in the town will make avid reading for those involved in the forthcoming Business Improvement District ballot. Every business within the town centre, will vote on whether to establish a BID on May 23.

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