MEMBERS of Peebles and District Men’s Shed hope to use their expertise to redevelop the Common Good’s Hay Lodge Depot.

It is a move seen as a “last throw of the dice” for the organisation and its benefit to the community is touted as “far outweighing any income obtained for the property”.

Currently the Shed is based in two large rooms, one of which is fitted out as a wood workshop, as tenants of Peebles Community Trust (PCT) at the School Brae Hub.

But PCT plans to demolish that building and rebuild which could take two to three years and leave the Shed homeless during the renovation period.

The Men’s Shed trustees, which is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation open to men and women, have submitted a business case to take over the lease of the Hay Lodge premises.

But they can only afford a peppercorn rent as they would immediately become liable for insurance of the building and power, water and other fixed costs.

Malcolm Bruce, secretary of the Men’s Shed since it was first formed about eight years ago told the Peeblesshire News: “This is a last throw of the dice for our Shed.

“We have always struggled to find suitable premises we could afford and tried to lease these buildings around five years ago.

“We managed to get that application to a vote of the Common Good trustees but were defeated three-two in favour of renting the premises to a commercial tenant.

“The building would suit us very well with several spaces suitable for both social and workshop use.

“It is a shell though, and needs significant upgrading.

“While we cannot offer a commercial rent, we would be able to upgrade the building to modern day standards.

“Our plans include making the whole building, including the toilets, accessible for all; upgrading the power distribution, the very basic heating in both what would be our social spaces and the workshop areas; and installation of a kitchen.

“We would also like to explore opportunities to share parts of the building with other community groups.”

When the Men’s Shed application was last discussed by Common Good trustees, SBC officers were instructed to run a public consultation exercise to gather public opinion on the proposal.

That exercise is due to end on Monday (July 8) when a report will be prepared for consideration by the Common Good trustees.

Support has been obtained from MSPs Craig Hoy and Christine Grahame who has been a long time supporter of the Shed.

Ms Grahame recommended that the Shed carries out its own survey of members and supporters and that has been ongoing now for several weeks.

Peebles and District Men’s Shed has accepted membership applications from 198 local men and women since it’s opening and regularly has about 20 attending sessions held three days per week.

Further details are available on its Facebook page or through its website at