05. We will continue to implement and embed the regeneration outcomes as articulated in our Regeneration Strategy. As a priority, we will implement the Town Centre Action Plan, including by taking forward a series of demonstration projects including a programme of town centre charrettes

Implementation Lead(s): Scottish Government

Locations: Various

Further reading:
 Scottish Sustainable Communities Initiative Charrette Mainstreaming Programme
Scottish Government Regeneration Strategy ‘Achieving a Sustainable Future’
Scottish Government Town Centre Action Plan
Town Centre Planning Pilots
Town Centre Action Plan – Two Years On Report

Environmental Mitigation: None identified

Ongoing Activity and Milestones:
 January 2014 – April 2015 – 13 Town Centre Charrettes held in across Scotland (Neilston, Bridgend, Elgin, South Queensferry, and Port Glasgow,. Maybole, Clydebank, Whitburn, Denny, Carnoustie, Crieff/ Aberfeldy/ Auchterarder, and Dunblane. Proposals for projects with a town centre focus at Tranent and Elgin also supported through the Local Development Plan Charrette Mainstreaming programme

2014 on – Reports from the Town Centre charrette programme are being made available as they become available on the Scottish Government’s website .

Summer 2014 – The Scottish Cabinet and COSLA Leaders agree Town Centre First Principle for Scotland.

April 15, 2015 – Town Centre Toolkit launched.  The development of the toolkit was a key commitment of the Town Centre Action Plan.  The toolkit contains ideas and examples of how people and organisations can make their town centre more attractive, more active and more accessible.

November 9, 2015 –Publication of  7 case studies and ‘How To Guides’ from the Town Centre Planning Pilots programme demonstrating innovative approaches to simplify planning processes, and proactive planning ideas to attract people into town centres.

Nov 2015-Mar 2016 –  £1.7m Town Centre Communities Capital Fund – 20 community organisations received funding to support capital projects which will make real and lasting improvements to town centres across Scotland.  The projects will further unlock the potential of public assets in town centres, improve amenity and first impressions of a place in line with the Town Centre Action Plan, the Town Centre First Principle and guidance available through the Town Centre Toolkit.

December 2015 – 17 Projects selected for the 2015-16 charrette mainstreaming programme which focusses on linkages between town centre action plans and community plans, and linking community planning and spatial planning processes.

December 10, 2015 – Launch of Place Standard: How Good is Our Place tool.  The tool provides an evaluation framework for place quality to support communities, service providers and industry to adopt a collaborative and assets based approach to development.  The tool can be applied to a variety of contexts, including town centre and regeneration initiatives.

June 2016 – World Towns Leadership Summit, held in Edinburgh, launch of further case studies and ‘How To Guides’ from the Town Centre Planning Pilots programme, together with overview leaflet to share the learning.

December 2016 – In recognition of concerns raised by communities across Scotland, we laid legislation to help reduce the negative impact of betting shops and pay day lenders have on town centres. The new legislation means anyone intending to change the use of a premises to a betting shop or providing pay day loan services is now likely to have to apply to their local planning authority for planning permission. Previously, premises for financial, professional or other services on the high street could easily be transformed into betting offices without needing any planning permission.

December 2016 – Summer 2017:  12 projects selected for 2016-17 charrette programme focussing on linking community planning with spatial planning, town centre regeneration and community-led charrettes.  7 projects were also awarded Activating Ideas funding, to help support the delivery of previous community participation processes.

March 2017 – Digital Towns Guidance, with strategic steps and best practice case studies, was drawn up by Scotland’s Towns Partnership and the Public Wireless Programme in wide consultation with external partners. The Guidance aims to help improve the digital infrastructure, skills, strategic implementation and understanding of Digital in the context of Scotland’s towns and town centres.  It formed the basis of Digital Towns Pilot applications and grant support programme.

June 2017 – Scotland’s Towns Partnership received £30k from Scottish Government to produce a Digital Towns Pilot intended to encourage new strategic collaborations, improve participation and skills, and create scalable best practice models for Digital deployment in Scotland’s towns/town centres. 34 towns across Scotland were awarded funding and consultancy days from an expert industry advisor to develop their Digital Towns Plans.

July 2017  – New, extended permitted development (PD) rights for electronic communications (telecommunications) infrastructure came into force on 31 July 2017 – The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2017.  Further extensions to PD rights in this area are being considered alongside those for other sectors.  A sustainability appraisal of extensions to PD is due in the spring.  Thereafter we will publicly consult on the sustainability appraisal and a draft work programme for changes to PD rights.

July 2017 – Scotland’s Towns Partnership contacted the Scottish Government with a proposal for STP to better align itself with the SG’s Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) policy. The proposal set out the agreement for STP to join the BIDs Scotland’s board in order to better align both organisations in terms of their approach to delivering the Town Centre Action Plan.  The proposal provided details of how  a new STP/ BIDS model would deliver faster rate of growth of new BIDS, greater sustainability of existing BIDS and create a single entry point in Scotland for BIDs and town centre support.

Nov 2017 – Scotland’s Towns Partnership proposal to develop a more strategic and wider partnership agreed; STP awarded a grant of £25k in November 2017 from SG to develop this concept through two pilots in the Lanark and Largs BID areas; stakeholder forum held in Feb 2018 to explore a new model

December 2017 – 19 projects across Scotland to receive grant funding support for community-led and participative design projects. Architecture & Design Scotland will also provide advice to help build capacity within communities and support for the  delivery of projects developed through previous community design processes.

Dec 2017 – Town Centre Living – Scotland’s Towns Partnership is producing a publication with Architecture & Design Scotland containing strategic guidance and best practice on town centre living; estimated completion end of 2017.

2018 – A third phase of the Understanding Scottish Places toolkit with digital, housing and greenspace indicators is in development, with expected launch in early 2018.


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