Empty Penicuik unit to re-open as ice cream parlour

The former retail unit on The Square, Penicuik
The former retail unit on The Square, Penicuik

Plans for a former retail unit on The Square, Penicuik, have been approved by Midlothian Council after the building has lain empty for 13 years.

They include turning the ground floor into an ice-cream parlour and hot food takeaway, putting a two-bedroom flat on the first floor and adding a second floor to the building to create another flat.

Council officers acknowledged that the local authority’s own food and drink guidance warns that it is unlikely applications to put hot food takeaways next to residential properties will be approved.

The guidance states hot food takeaways will not be permitted in premises where there are residential properties on the floors above.

However, officers ruled that since the flats would be newly built with the business underneath the new tenant would have fair warning of what they would be living above.

An officer’s report, approving the plans, said: “Given that the flatted dwellings and ice-cream parlour and hot food takeaway will all be new, it is considered that the occupants of the flatted dwelling will be aware they will be moving in to a property with such a business below which may have an impact on their amenity.”

Previous attempts to bring the building back to use were approved in 2013 and 2016 when planning applications were submitted for similar proposals on the site.

Council officers approved the new planning application saying they believed it will not have “a significant adverse impact” on the character of the area or amenity of neighbouring land and buildings.