Penicuik First has achieved a lot in its first few years of existence (see “Projects delivered”), but there’s still plenty to do.
As a Business Improvement District (BID), it can only exist for five years before being voted back in for another term. Penicuik First activity beyond 2020 cannot be guaranteed until a “renewal ballot” is held and businesses once again vote in favour of making the improvements in a brand-new business plan.
Some projects from the current business plan, and some other new ones, which arose as a response to changing circumstances and new opportunities, are yet to be delivered.
This page summarises some of the ongoing activity that hasn’t been completed yet, but that will be in full force by 2020.
It had originally been proposed that some of Penicuik First’s core budget should be allocated towards improving wayfinding signage in and around Penicuik town centre. The advent of the seven-figure Penicuik Heritage Regeneration project changed all that! Pledging £5,000 alongside in-kind support to the project, Penicuik First ensured that signage in Penicuik will be improved far more extensively than it could have afforded internally. The wait will be slightly longer, but the results promise to be astounding.
Signs at arterial entrances to Penicuik’s historic town centre, as well as wayfinding signage throughout the whole town, will be funded as part of the Penicuik Heritage Regeneration project – a combination of Historic Environment Scotland and Heritage Lottery Fund money, totalling over £3,000,000. Potential collaboration with housing developers around Penicuik will potentially increase the signage budget yet further.
Shop-front improvement: Just like the “signage” project, above, Penicuik First had intended to use some of its core budget to operate a shop-front improvement grants scheme for its member businesses. A limited number of businesses could have applied for part-funding to improve shop-fronts. Now that Penicuik Heritage Regeneration is on the cards, however, the modest £5,000 investment from Penicuik First ensures that a far larger pot of funding will be made available to businesses – and a coherent approach to uniformity in design promises to really restore Penicuik’s lustre.
Town centres the world over are blighted by limited parking, as well as inconsiderate motorists taking up spaces, which could be used by shoppers helping to keep businesses afloat. Penicuik is no different. Parking regulations are in place, but routinely flouted because motorists know it’s unlikely that they will be penalised.
Penicuik First has consistently lobbied Midlothian Council to decriminalise parking enforcement (DPE). It’s a complex issue, but in simple terms, Police Scotland oversee parking offences as long as parking is a criminal offence. With limited police resources, many parking offences go unpunished and revenue from parking fines goes straight to central Government.
With DPE, parking offences are a civil matter. The Local Authority can employ wardens, targeting problem spots, for example in cases of businesses losing trade due to customers being unable to stop their cars outside or near the business. Parking fine revenue goes to the Local Authority to cover the cost of wardens and perhaps even generate profit, to be spent on further improvements to access and parking.
Efforts to lobby Midlothian Council to operate DPE have been successful and parking wardens will soon be a familiar sight on Penicuik streets. Perhaps not every motorist’s favourite sight, parking wardens will nonetheless ensure that businesses can stop losing trade because of inconsiderate parking.
If parking spaces are used responsibly, there is no shortage in Penicuik. Many commuters (e.g. from the Borders to Edinburgh) will use the town as an unofficial “Park & Ride”, parking illegally and taking a cheap bus to Edinburgh, where parking charges (and fines) are high, with regulations strictly enforced. These commuters are harming the accessibility of Penicuik and must be moved on.
Penicuik is a great place to do business. Check our A-Z business directory.Business A-Z
Penicuik is a bustling market town just south of Edinburgh.Things to do in Penicuik
Penicuik has a lot to offer. There are lots of local groups available.Find out what's happening