Penicuik HMO for 49 people approved

Local residents opposed to the HMO plans, pictured outside Pentland House in 2014

Local residents opposed to the HMO plans, pictured outside Pentland House in 2014

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Despite previous fears raised by local residents, a house of multiple occupancy (HMO) application to accommodate up to 49 people in a former care home has been approved.

The application for Pentland House in Penicuik was granted by the council’s general purposes committee last week, subject to conditions.

Local residents had previously been opposed to the HMO proposal when it was first put forward.

However, Penicuik Community Council chairman Ken Brown welcomed the news.

He said: “Originally we were told it was to be bed and breakfast people. The next we heard was it was going to be for immigrants. That was the last thing I heard.

“So I don’t know whether this is good news or bad news.

“I guess it’s actually good news that the building is going to be put to good use and not left derelict.

“Local people were concerned about the people that would be going in there. But personally I’m happy about it.

“I will bring the matter up at our next meeting on March 14 to get the general feeling of the community council.”

Speaking at last week’s general purposes committee meeting, housing chief Kevin Anderson recommended that the licence be granted.

He said: “In terms of occupancy agreement this does meet all the statutory requirements and there are no concerns about the operation or use of that building.”

The property will have 40 bedrooms, four of which will be double bedrooms. Recommendations made to alleviate locals’ concerns included appropriate management and supervision of property by a team of experienced staff.

Accommodation will be provided to households with no history of criminal behaviour or substance dependency. And there will be supervision of the building and surrounding neighbourhood to avoid concerns about the safety of local residents.