Midlothian Council approves Penicuik Nepalese restaurant

A former snooker hall will be turned into a Nepalese restaurant after planners gave the changes the green light.

Friday, 5th February 2021, 6:00 am
Stock photo of The Gurkha restaurant North High Street, Musselburgh. Navin Kandel pictured second from left.
Stock photo of The Gurkha restaurant North High Street, Musselburgh. Navin Kandel pictured second from left.

Navin Kandel, the owner of an award-winning Nepalese restaurant, has been granted permission to turn the hall in Penicuik into a new eaterie.

Mr Kandel, who owns Ghurka Bar & Restaurant in Musselburgh, applied for permission to convert the two-storey building on Imrie Place.

The building, which has lain empty for a number of years, was described as semi-derelict in the application to change its use to a restaurant.

Agents for Mr Kandel said he planned to build on an existing successful restaurant business already in operation. They added: “The proposed use of the building will make a vibrant contribution to the existing town.

“We also believe it will support the aims of the Penicuik Heritage Regeneration Project to regenerate the town centre.”

The snooker hall was previously used as a Masonic Hall and has its own car park.

Two previous applications to turn the building into 14 student flats were refused by Midlothian Council in 2016 and 2017.

Thirteen letters of objection were lodged with planners over the proposed change of use to a restaurant, with concerns over the impact on parking, delivery vehicles, noise and ventilation among concerns.

An additional application to install vent equipment and a flue duct did not receive any objections and was also approved.

The planning officer’s report pointed to the length of time the site had lain empty, stating: “The application site has been redundant for at least seven years with little interest in reusing this.

“The most recent applications have been for student accommodation, which were not supported for a number of reasons.

“The current proposal is the most suitable use for the unit that has been considered for a number of years and would result in the reuse of the long-term vacant building and improve the leisure facilities in the area.”

Ghurka Bar & Restaurant opened in Musselburgh in 2014 and was named Best Specialist Restaurant in Scotland at the Scottish Business Awards in 2016, as well as picking up several Good Food awards.