Scottish Parliament committee throws its weight behind regeneration of Scotland’s high streets

A SCOTTISH Parliament committee has thrown its weight behind the regeneration of Scotland’s high streets by urging that proposed out-of-town retail developments should require to demonstrate there will be no adverse effects on their nearest high street and only after a “thorough” evaluation of high street options has been exhausted.

Says a report – here – by the Economy and Fair Work committee at the parliament, it notes a draft national planning framework (fourth edition – NPF4) here urging a moratorium (policy 28) on out-of-town retail developments.

But recommendations 23 and 24 of the committee’s Inquiry into Retail and Town Centres in Scotland read: “The Scottish Government has stopped short of putting the ‘town centre first principle’ on a statutory footing in NPF4. It has been in place as a ‘principle’ since 2014. In that time, progress has been limited. Without the principle being strengthened, the committee would have concerns that the vision for Scotland’s towns may not be realised.

“Members of the committee hold differing views on whether a moratorium on out-of-town development in NPF4 is the solution. All members are agreed that implementation of NPF4 must be sufficiently robust to ensure any new proposed developments can demonstrate town centre sites have been pursued and thoroughly evaluated, that development will have no adverse impact on town centres and will not compete with town centre provision.”

Other recommendations deal with the likes of compulsory purchase orders (No. 27) and encouraging an increase in town centre populations (No. 42).

Pictured: Dunfermline, Picture credit: Place Design Scotland