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Town Centre Action Plan – Just Desserts?

Town Centre Action Plan – Just Desserts?

Have you walked down your local high street recently?  Noticed any changes?  Probably not.

It is a year since the Scottish Government published the Town Centre Action Plan, which aimed to breathe new life into town centres across the country.  Although widely welcomed, there were concerns that the Plan lacked the drive and funding to bring about real change. 

The publication of the “Year on Report” has not satisfied the critics. While the report highlights a number of pilot projects, it does not point to any tangible successes. 

The suggestions of developing town centre planning protocols; establishing Simplified Planning Zones; using compulsory purchase powers to assemble land; and reducing developer contributions in town centre developments are all measures which planning authorities could use to stimulate regeneration. However these powers have been around for decades. Do we need another pilot running for a further year? 

Should we leave it to Scottish Ministers to be the catalyst for change? Should the vibrancy of a town centre not be determined by those who live, work and visit the area? 

So, if your high street looks the same, who is really to blame?

Elaine Farquharson-Black
Partner

LChalmers