Piercing studio appeals over ‘unreasonable’ rejection

Thursday May 18th 2023

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The proposed piercing studio building on Bonnyrigg High Street.


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

A decision to reject plans for a body piercing studio off Bonnyrigg High Street because it shared a vennel with neighbours has been described as ‘unreasonable’ by the applicant.

Midlothian planners refused permission for the change of use of a disused workshop in the town into the studio after a complaint that it would lead to more footfall on the vennel.

However in an appeal to the council’s Local Review Body, agents for the owner of the building say the path is a public access similar to many found in Edinburgh Old Town and its use should be welcomed.

They say: “The (planning) case officer state that the access ‘does not encourage public access but gives the impression of a private access leading to communal garden ground and the accesses to the flatted dwellings’.

“This is an unreasonable conclusion to draw and we would make the comparison to Edinburgh Old Town, where similar vennels are found in abundance and provide access to a whole plethora of differing commercial and residential uses which all work in harmony and symphony to create one of the world’s best town centre environments as recognised in its World Heritage Status.

“Bonnyrigg High Street may be of a slightly different context, but its aspirations and opportunity for access and multi-purpose, commercially sound and cohesive uses as proposed represents a sense of similar aspiration at least.”

Owner of the workshop Matin Khan had earlier told Midlothian planners the building had been used as a pet shop in the past and the vennel, which allowed access to it, was already used by neighbouring commercial properties for deliveries as well as residents of flats above the businesses.

However the claims were challenged by one neighbour who insisted the building had only ever been used as a storage space for the pet shop and no customers ever came down it while it was open.

Planners refused the change of use saying it would “change the character of this area by bringing a higher than expected footfall commercial use into a largely secluded, residential area” and detract materially from the existing character of this area.

Mr Khan’s agents argue in their appeal which is due to be heard next week the studio will bring back into use a building which has been empty for 10 years and point out there are no studios of its kind in the town itself.

They add: “Piercing parlours are common features of modern town centres and as footfall generating uses they can aid the vitality and viability of the town centres within which they are situated.”

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