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Public Invited to Give Views on the Future of Scotland’s Towns

The Expert Review Group formed by the Scottish Government to undertake an appraisal of the Town Centre Action Plan published in 2013 has issued a national survey to gather the views of local communities on the future of their towns.

On 1st July 2020, it was announced that the review would be undertaken by a group chaired by Professor Leigh Sparks, Deputy Principal and Professor of Retail Studies at the University of Stirling. Information and progress reports on the Review’s work can be found here.

Members of the Review Group include COSLA, the Royal Town Planning Institute, the Improvement Service, South of Scotland Enterprise, the Carnegie Trust, the Federation of Small Businesses, Public Health Scotland, Sustrans, Development Trust Association Scotland, Inclusion Scotland and the Scottish Government. The Review will include a range of consultation exercises with the general public and other stakeholders and report later in the year. You can read more about the announcement here

As part of the review, The Expert Review Group is inviting local communities to share their views through a public survey. The survey will run until Wednesday 30th September 2020 at 17:00. It can be accessed here.

The survey accompanies a formal call for evidence and a series of oral evidence sessions which will take place the week commencing 17th August 2020.  

The Town Centre Action Plan, published in 2013, can be accessed through the Scottish Government’s town centre regeneration page, where you will also find links to the 2013 National Review of Town Centres, as well as one year and two year progress reports on the Town Centre Action Plan.

On releasing the public survey, the Expert Review Group chair, Professor Leigh Sparks said:

“Scotland is a nation of towns. But towns aren’t just a series of buildings, streets and pavements. They are made up of people and local communities. As we begin the task of forging a new vision for towns it is crucial that the voices, views and ideas of local people are at its heart.

“The Review Group wants to hear from as many people as possible about their experiences and their ideas for the future. Local people aren’t just bystanders in our towns – communities are the very life-blood of our society. If we can put together a strategy that has community input and buy-in from the start, it is our hope that we can all share in the responsibility for its success.”

The Review is tasked with issuing its report and recommendations for consideration by the Scottish Government by the end of 2020.

Image: Professor Leigh Sparks (University of Stirling)