Penicuik snooker hall is cued up for transformation by award-winning restaurant owner

A former snooker club is cued up to be transformed into a Nepalese restaurant after planners gave the changes the green light.

Navin Kandel, the owner of the award-winning Ghurka Bar & Restaurant in Musselburgh, has been granted permission to turn the hall in Penicuik’s Imrie Place into a new eatery

The building, which has lain empty for a number of years, was described as semi-derelict in the application to change its use to a restaurant.

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Agents for Mr Kandel said he planned to build on an existing successful restaurant business already in operation.

New venture: Former snooker club in PenicuikNew venture: Former snooker club in Penicuik
New venture: Former snooker club in Penicuik

They added: “The proposed use of the building will make a vibrant contribution to the existing town.

“We also believe it will support the aims of the Penicuik Heritage Regeneration Project to regenerate the town centre.”

The snooker hall was previously used as a Masonic Hall and has its own car park on site.

Two previous applications to turn the building into 14 student flats were refused by Midlothian Council in 2016 and 2017.

Thirteen letters of objection were lodged with planners over the proposed change of use to a restaurant, with concerns over the impact on parking, delivery vehicles, noise and ventilation among concerns.

An additional application to install vent equipment and a flue did not receive any objections and was also approved.

The planning officer’s report pointed to the length of time the site had lain empty, stating: “The application site has been redundant for at least seven years with little interest in reusing this.

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“The most recent applications have been for student accommodation, which were not supported for a number of reasons.

“The current proposal is the most suitable use for the unit that has been considered for a number of years and would result in the reuse of the long-term vacant building and improve the leisure facilities in the area.”

Ghurka Bar & Restaurant opened in Musselburgh in 2014 and was named Best Specialist Restaurant in Scotland at the Scottish Business Awards in 2016, as well as picking up several Good Food awards made by different organisations which recognise excellence in the restaurant industry.

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