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Mimi’s Bakehouse rises above planning woes with petition

Mimi’s Bakehouse rises above planning woes with petition

A popular family bakery has turned to their cake-loving fans after hitting a stumbling block over plans to expand their business.

Over 2000 people have signed a petition to “approve planning permission for Mimi’s Bakehouse” in Corstorphine.

Mimi’s Bakehouse first opened at The Shore in Leith in 2010. This was followed by the opening of a second smaller shop on the Royal Mile in 2013.

The company is hoping to add to this portfolio, recently applying for change of use planning permission at 227 St John’s Road to convert a former showroom into mixed use space consisting of retail, cafe and bakery.

via STV via STV

A final decision on the proposal will be made by councillors on the City of Edinburgh Council planning committee on September 23, however, the family say they are now concerned after council officials have recommended the application is refused.

Read the report here

In the report, officials say the proposal is "unacceptable in principle" as it "would result in the loss of retail on a primary shopping frontage in Corstorphine Town Centre, which already at present has more than one third of shop units in non-retail use."

After receiving such positive initial feedback from locals about their move to Corstorphine, the family decided to set up the petition in the hope of showing how people in the area felt about the addition of the cafe and shop, and bringing this to the committee’s attention.

“We are a family business based in Edinburgh and we have had such a phenomenal response to the two shops we have at the moment down in Leith and on the Royal Mile,” Scott Clearie from Mimi’s Bakehouse said.

  (© Mimi's Bakehouse)
via STV via STV

“We were made aware of the opportunity to open a place in Corstorphine. It is somewhere that a lot of people who come to visit us now have always said they wished we could have a place on that side of town.

“We have some family that stay out there and it is an area we always wanted to be, so we jumped at the chance when it came up.

“We put the planning application in four to six weeks ago and got the feedback that it was likely to be recommended for refusal by the council but the decision would be made by a planning committee.

“Our understanding is they have [recommended] refusing it because they don't see Mimi's as enough of a retail shop and they are concerned about the impact on a retail high street.

“We have always been doing the planning on the basis that we do have a retail offering at Mimi's. In all our shops, we sell bakery utensils and accessories but we also retail a lot of cakes and box them up for people and people order online and come and collect in store.

“We have never just been a cafe. We were actually applying for mixed use because we did want to keep the retail element but add a few tables in there as well.”

If the planning application is successful, Mimi’s hope to have between seven and ten tables at the St John’s Road unit in a style in-keeping with the other Edinburgh cafes. They also have a garden space they hope to use to grow their own berries and fruit and use within the cakes.

  (© Mimi's Bakehouse)
via STV via STV

And while the Mimi's family nervously await a decision on September 23, they say they have been delighted with the response from both their cake-loving fans and Corstorphine locals.

“We just felt we should show the council, if possible, the level of support within the community for it in the hope we could change the committee's mind,” Scott said.

“It was so nice to see our customers and fans arguing our case, we couldn't have asked for more.

“We want to grow the business and feel like we are being stopped by red tape and it is even more frustrating when you hear that people living in the area actually want you to be there.

“We really believe we can make a positive contribution to the high street and we feel that other retail businesses and shops on the street will hopefully benefit from people coming to visit the cafe then going on to do a bit more shopping.”

A spokesperson for the City of Edinburgh Council declined to comment on the application prior to a decision being made by the committee.

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