An advisory group was commissioned by the Scottish Government to conduct a review on the Scottish Government Town Centre Action Plan. A report was launched last week titled ‘A New Future for Scotland’s Town Centres’
To read the full report click here: https://www.gov.scot/binaries/content/documents/govscot/publications/independent-report/2021/02/new-future-scotlands-town-centres/documents/new-future-scotlands-town-centres/new-future-scotlands-town-centres/govscot%3Adocument/new-future-scotlands-town-centres.pdf?forceDownload=true
The report is broken down into 3 recommendations, these can be read in detail on page 34 of the report.
Recommendation 1: Strengthen the formal positioning of towns and town centres in National Planning including requirements to produce town and town centre plans, coproduced with communities and enhance data collection and use at the town and town centre level
Recommendation 2: Scottish Government should review the current tax, funding, and development systems to ensure that wellbeing, economy and climate outcomes, fairness and equality are at their heart. Potential suggestions for actions include (a) Amendments to Non Domestic Rates (NDR) (b) Amendments to VAT (c) Introduce a digital tax (d) Introduce an Out-of-Town Car Parking Space Levy (e) Introduce a Moratorium on Out- Of-Town Development
Recommendation 3: Expanded and Aligned Funding of Demonstration Projects in Towns and Town Centres. We have an overall request that the Scottish Government continues to seek to expand and ensure further alignment of the funding available. Funding for town centre activities has to be substantial, multi-year and cover revenue and capital spend. We recommend that projects should be focused around themes of (a) Town Centre Living Expansion – housing sector incentivisation in town centres (b) Digital Skills and Use in Towns – skills development for businesses and enterprises and extended uses of various technologies to understand and change behaviours in town centres (c) Enterprising Communities – Strategic Acquisition Fund to alter ownership, development and use patterns in town centres to encourage local small business, community enterprises and entrepreneurship around local and circular economies (d) Climate Change Response – building on existing programmes in Climate Action Towns, micro-generation, retrofitting of town centres buildings and the alteration of space in town centres for active travel, pedestrian movement, green space and social settings, with a view to enhancing the resilience of town centres against climate change.
This will be done through:
a) strengthening the existing national policy context
b) considering stopping supporting or advancing aspects which cause harm to town centres
c) focusing on activities and initiatives where building on and extending current approaches to renewed town centres would accelerate progress
An event has been organised to highlight the Scottish Government’s response to the report, for more information: https://www.scotlandstowns.org/webinar_launch_a_new_future_for_scotland_s_town_centres