A massive £2.6 million funding package will be pumped into a new project focussed on restoring the heart of Penicuik to its former historic glory.
The National Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland approved the cash to help regenerate the town centre and support local groups working towards the same aim.
The funding will support improvements to historic buildings and public spaces, along with a wide range of community activities and training opportunities for local people.
In a five-year project launching next month, Midlothian Council will work with local groups including Penicuik Community Development Trust and the business improvement district Penicuik First, to help reinvigorate the town centre.
The project hopes to build achievements from local groups such as the Trust that, since its inception in 2005, has created a community garden, a traditional print and stationery shop, provided weekend entertainment, education, and get-togethers to make the area better place for all and to help businesses to flourish.
The National Lottery awarded £1.7million to the project.
Lucy Casot, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “Investment like this goes well beyond the bricks and mortar of any building. It can really help turn local economies around, not only by improving how they look and feel for residents and visitors, but by creating new jobs and training opportunities.
“It will be wonderful to see new life breathed into Penicuik’s historic heart and it’s thanks to National Lottery players that we can help make it happen.”
Property owners and businesses in the project area will be able to apply for grants to restore their building or shopfronts.
Thomas Knowles, Head of Grants at Historic Environment Scotland, said: “We are pleased to support the Penicuik Regeneration Project through our Conservation Area Scheme (CARS) funding programme. This will provide £980,000 of investment to support the regeneration of the town which includes delivering grants schemes available to local residents and business owners to improve key historic buildings and public spaces.”
The council has already committed nearly half-a-million to street improvements in Penicuik High Street, with work expected to start on site in the autumn.
Midlothian Council’s cabinet member for communities, Councillor Russell Imrie, welcomed news of the funding award. “We are delighted to receive the fund support,” said Councillor Imrie. “This will allow the council and its partners to make an early start on improvements to Penicuik’s historic town centre, and we look forward to working with local residents, property owners and businesses on this exciting regeneration project.”