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Penicuik High Street with the newly installed hanging baskets © The Penicuik Cuckoo/Thomas Scott

Conservation Regeneration Funding Sought

Councillors are hoping that Penicuik could follow Dalkeith and Gorebridge in being awarded funds from Historic Scotland to improve historical buildings.

At a full council meeting on Tuesday 28 June, Midlothian Council voted in favour pressing ahead with a bid to secure funding from Historic and Environment Scotland’s Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS).

If successful, the town could be in line to achieve up to £1M in government funds to upgrade and repair buildings within its conservation area, which includes Penicuik’s 18th century High Street but omits the 1980’s shopping centre development, characteristically featuring the black glass former Safeway store. Penicuik would follow in the footsteps of Dalkeith and Gorebridge who have both received funding from the scheme. Dalkeith went on to also secure Townscape Heritage Initiative funding, facilitating a shop front improvement scheme. It is hoped that Penicuik may follow suit.

Cllr Jim Bryant, the Cabinet Member for Planning, said:

I’m pleased that we will be submitting a bid for grant funding for a Penicuik CARS scheme.  Penicuik is well placed for such funding not only because it recently established a Business Improvement District in the town centre but also because it has a solid historic and architectural heritage.

The most recent substantial town centre redevelopment was in the 1980s so the chance to renovate and repair traditional buildings would have a significant impact on the look of the town centre.

Historic and Environment Scotland’s CARS is a five year programme in which owners of eligible buildings will be entitled to a portion of funding to improve their building. Midlothian Council’s own Town Hall is in line for funding and could see the repair of the tollbooth style clock. The former Co-Operative building at 6-10 High Street and the Royal Hotel could also be eligible for funding. However it is unknown whether the much altered portion on the north of the High Street from 14-28 would be eligible.

Last month, the Penicuik First Business Improvement District announced that thousands of pounds raised from a levy on local businesses would be used to put up around forty new hanging baskets throughout the town. At the monthly market on Friday 1 July, it was evident that the majority of these were now in place with many shops having their own hanging basket on their shopfront.

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