Farmfoods bid for Penicuik car showroom site

Supermarket chain Farmfoods is hoping its community support work during the pandemic will help it get approval for a new store in Penicuik.

The retailer has lodged a planning application to build on a former car showroom at Edinburgh Road, saying it could create up to 20 jobs.

The site, across the road from the town’s Tesco supermarket, was rejected as a retail space last year after planners ruled it could take customers away from town centre shops.

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They told owners AF Noble and Sons, who had moved their showroom to Eastfield, that vacant town centre units should be filled before a new retail store could be given the go ahead.

An artist's impression of the proposed Farmfoods store at the former car showroom on Edinburgh Road, Penicuik.

However a new application from Farmfoods has pointed out that before the car showroom opened in the late 1990s the site was home to a supermarket operated by MacKays.

It argued the proposals will return the site to its “historic use”.

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And the firm said it will support the local community with its past record of working with local authorities put forward as an example of its commitment.

It said: “The company places a high importance on supporting the local communities in which it is located.

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“For example, Farmfoods was very active in assisting Glasgow City Council’s Covid -19 support scheme.

“The council issued Farmfoods payment cards to qualifying households (those usually in receipt of footwear and clothing grants and/or free school meals) throughout the period of enforced school closures.

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“Similar support was also provided to East Lothian Council. These were not promotional schemes, rather it was Farmfoods assisting in the councils’ provision of welfare support with their product range and easy access to its stores being identified as reasons why the company was an ideal partner for the delivery of this much needed social and community support.”

The firm also provided an extensive survey of household shopping in Penicuik town centre and the new store’s catchment area which it says show the level of impact it will have on other retailers will be ‘modest’.

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The planning application is available for viewing on the Midlothian Council planning portal.