Plans to overhaul Penicuik’s historical town centre have gone on show to the public as part of the forthcoming Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS).
With the clock ticking down to the start of Penicuik’s £3M heritage regeneration project next year, architects and conservationists met the public on Tuesday to give a glimpse of designs to improve the High Street and surrounding area. The exhibition, which took place in the town’s eighteenth century town hall, proposed a vision for the centre’s future and sought views on emerging designs.
Douglas Wheeler Associates alongside architects Austin Smith Lord are working with Midlothian Council to redesign the so called”village of Penicuik”, the historical High Street and surrounding streets designed and erected in the 1700s. Based on a vision to boost the economy, through increased tourism and inward investment, the designers have proposed a raft of improvements. These include a shop front improvement scheme to declutter historical facades and better way finding signage.
However, there are two priority projects that aim to drastically overhaul the historical core: the redevelopment of 2-4 Bridge Street, the former BNC Autoparts, and the reconfiguration of north High Street.
Highly visible to all entering Penicuik from the south, the now derelict BNC Autoparts building is regarded locally as a disgrace and eyesore, having lain vacant for years. Finally though, its days may now be numbered. Architects have been drawing up early designs to part-demolish the building, erecting a new contemporary mixed-use proposition that captures the imagination of the locals and tourists alike. Massing studies by Austin Smith Lord propose a variety of arrangements, from a new two-storey corner unit to the creation of a vennel and new public square. Likely uses include residential and retail but the final purpose has not been decided. Discussions are ongoing with the current owners, who have not followed through on previous consented schemes, to come to an arrangement on how the site can best benefit from the substantial funding pot.
In addition to the Bridge Street project, High Street will also be reconfigured. The current parking lay-by to the north of the main carriageway will be redesigned to be more attractive and functional. Under the shown designs, the parking will be altered, pavements widened and new street furniture introduced. Pedestrian crossings will also be realigned. The aim is to produce an inviting civic space that can be utilised throughout the year.
Views on all the proposals shown as still being sought and can be submitted to Midlothian Council by emailing Rodd.Lugg@midlothian.gov.uk. The full exhibition boards can be found here.
Design work will continue in the coming months before the Conservation Area Scheme formally begins in April 2018.
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