Plans prioritise town centre investment

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The Scottish Government and COSLA are working together to encourage the public sector to continue to invest in their town centres and help communities thrive.

Local Government and Planning Minister Derek Mackay is calling on public bodies to sign up to the new Town Centre First Principle.

The Principle requests that public bodies such as local authorities, the NHS and Police Scotland weigh up the potential impact of closing town centre facilities, against the benefits of keeping their town centres healthy and vibrant.

Mr Mackay said: “Our town centres should be vibrant, attractive and safe places where local people want to spend their time and money.

“The Scottish Government made a commitment to recognise and prioritise the importance of town centres in our Town Centre Action Plan last year, and we are taking this one step further by introducing the Town Centre First Principle, and asking all public bodies to sign up.

“The Principle will encourage public bodies to put the health of town centres first and consider what impact any investment decisions, will have on them.

“In particular, when it comes to investment, public bodies adopting the principle are requested to consider town centre locations first, and look beyond immediate pressures when they are making decisions about closing a town centre facility.

“We understand that for some businesses or services the town centre may not be a suitable location.

“But in signing up to the Principle, public bodies will make sure the rationale for locating elsewhere is evidenced and transparent.

“It is encouraging to see our local authorities applying the principle and recognising how important it is to regenerate our town centres,” he added.