Town centre action plan receives Scottish Government welcome

A REVISITED set of recommendations to help restore the fortunes of Scotland’s towns has been welcomed by the Scottish Government and the representative body for Scottish local authorities, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (CoSLA).

The endorsement follows a task force revisiting – here – a 2013 town centre action plan.

Says a Scottish Government announcement, here: “We strongly support [the] overarching aim to work with our communities to transform the future of our town centres, help us recover and learn from the impact of the [Coronavirus] pandemic and realise the necessary economic, environmental and social well-being benefits.

“We support the vision the review has developed and are determined to work collaboratively using this report to help us to achieve that vision.

“We will re-affirm our commitment to the Town Centre First Principle [here] and the Place Principle [here] starting now by engaging with partners to ask them to do the same.

“To do that, we propose this report and its recommendations are considered in detail with partners and work is carried out collaboratively to prepare a shared delivery plan by autumn 2021.

“This will require significant analysis and consultation, some of which is already underway, such as through the preparation of National Planning Framework 4 [here].

“In the interim, local government and Scottish Government will work together, with partners and with communities, to continue the work already started to support the delivery of the town centre vision, building on the strong foundations we already have. And we will continue to deliver shorter term actions both for recovery and longer term sustainability.”

The Scottish Government welcome continues: “The Town Centre Action Plan 2013 and our town centre first approach have been held up as an example throughout the UK and globally.

“These have been built on a strong partnership with COSLA and local government.

“We want to build on that partnership and have agreed to work together to deliver the Place Based Investment Programme [here], which will link and align our place-based funding initiatives and provide a coherent local framework across urban and rural areas towards realising our ambitions for place, town centres, and 20 minute neighbourhoods.

“This programme will be backed by £325 million over five years to help create places across Scotland where we are able to live well locally and we have vibrant town centres with the facilities, services, opportunities and connections we need to flourish.

“This programme is being delivered in partnership with CoSLA, with £38 million to be allocated to local authorities in 2021/22 and a further £33 million in 2022/23.”

Picture: Musselburgh high street, East Lothian

Picture credit: PlaceDesignScotland