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

Community to Have Say on Regeneration Plans

The public will be given their chance to influence Penicuik’s upcoming Heritage Regeneration scheme, says Midlothian Council.

Midlothian Council last week appointed design consultants Douglas Wheeler Associates to lead the £2M restoration and rejuvenation of the town centre. As part of this, the firm will consult with local stakeholders – businesses, organisations and the public – to create a so called vision for the “historic core” of Penicuik. They will also undertake surveys of buildings eligible for funding and collate other technical information to be submitted as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s requirements.

Earlier this year, it was announced that up to £2M could be made available to the town to help restore historical buildings, namely the Cowan Institute (or Penicuik Town Hall), and to implement improvements to older shop fronts, some of which date to the 18th century. The funding will primarily focus on the original High Street but will also expand to include The Square, West Street, Bridge Street and the western half of John Street. Post-war additions, such as the Penicuik Shopping Centre, will not receive funding from either of the announced grants as they do not meet the criteria for regeneration.

However, the funding has not yet been released in full and the end amount being made available will only be confirmed once this second phase of detailed information collection has been completed. It is anticipated that £1.69M will be awarded over five years from April 2018.

Douglas Wheeler Associates will be commencing detailed building surveys over the next month and may be in contact with both the tenants and the owners. An online questionnaire will also be launched for the public to have their say on the regeneration. It also possible that local events may be organised for the community to participate in, though details of these are not yet available.

The Penicuik Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme is being lead by Douglas Wheeler Associates on behalf of Midlothian Council. Penicuik First Business Improvement District and the Penicuik Community Development Trust are also participating.

Cuckoo View:

Penicuik has been left to rot for many years but it is a relief that work may finally be getting underway to improve our historical town that has been left crying out for attention for so long.

However, Penicuik needs more than just a lick of paint, it needs a major rethink. The case for a wider scale regeneration of the post-war shopping centre has only been exacerbated by Lidl’s move to remove half of the town’s public park.

It’s time for the community to be at the forefront of designing a Penicuik that works for them. This consultation must go further. Read our Editor’s views in the article below:

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