Clinic business

Midlothian clinic could close after being ordered to remove security shutters

A community-supported clinic may have to close just a month after it opened because planners refused to allow it to keep its security shutter.

Husband and wife Marc Stuart and Ying Peng opened the Penicuik Podiatry Clinic last month on John Street in the city.

But the decision to install a security shutter in the former optical shop led Midlothian planning officers to be told they needed planning permission.

And despite receiving 27 letters of support from people in the community as well as support from the Penicuik Community Council, officers denied their request saying it was against their policy to protect “character of the conservation area”.

Marc has now pledged to appeal the decision which he described as “extremely disappointing”.

He said: “The bottom line is that if this decision stands, we may have to close.

“It’s very frustrating, there’s a store opposite us with a similar pane, we’re the only podiatry service in Penicuik and have a lot of support from the community.

“We are now considering appealing and taking the next step.”

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Penicuik and District Community Council have written to officers supporting the clinic and shutters to protect the equipment and materials inside.

And he said there had been incidents where businesses in the area had smashed windows.

He added: “Several members felt it was essential that there was protection due to the type of equipment and possible drugs on the premises.

“It has also been estimated that although only this side of the compound is within a conservation area, there are two other properties within the compound with similar shutters.

“Any decision made must take into account the appearance of the entire enclosure, therefore, it would be considered unfair to that particular company, if the application were denied.”

He also pointed out that the store had been vacant for some time and welcomed its return to the community.

Mr Stuart said the clinic has three treatment rooms and hopes to be able to employ five professionals as it expands alongside additional office staff.

Planning officers said they registered four objections due to the impact on Penicuik’s conservation area and “negative perception of the town centre”.

However, 27 letters of support highlighted community needs due to the lack of such a podiatrist service in Penicuik, economic benefits due to job creation and increased visitation in the surrounding areas. premises and security problems due to the materials and equipment kept. on the site
in the context of business transactions.

The refusing building permit officers said: ‘Significant investment has been made in recent years (in downtown Penicuik) under the CAR scheme, to assist in the attractiveness and restoration of storefronts .

“Roller shutters are contrary to council’s efforts to protect and enhance amenities in the built-up area and to enhance and promote the character and appearance of the conservation area.”