What sort of town centre do you want?
Scotland’s Towns Conference was held the other week in Perth as noted here before. It formed part of a Towns week across Scotland which saw other events being held locally as well as a Scottish Government, Scottish Retail Consortium and Stirling Council workshop (as part of the National Town Centres Review) in a disused tax office building in the centre of Stirling.
We all know we have problems in our town centres and the focus now is on removing the barriers to change and unleashing local energy. This is not easy but what shone through from then events I attended was the sense that a tipping point had been reached. Ideas, energy and motivation were all in evidence, often driven by locally based community groups and organisations.
As part of the Towns week, Scotland’s Towns Policy Group published a paper aimed at opening up discussion with the National Town Centres Review. The paper as a whole is attached here, and a summary of it and the Towns Conference has been prepared by CSPP for the next meeting of National Town Centre Review Group. There is also a real-time Storify twitter summary of the conference.
The recommendations from the paper are ordered under three headings of strategy, community and culture and are summarised in this document. We need local groups to be empowered and resourced to take forward their ideas and to make sure what they want and need is made clear in the energetic activities that are beginning to take place across Scotland.
Some questions from the conference for your thoughts:
- how do we make town centres become a chosen community and not a given community for people?
- where is the space for people and mess in town centres?
- why are local community groups so much more entrepreneurial than local authorities and what does this suggest?
- if no one else is going to do it for you, how can we make you able to do it?
- how do we engage groups currently not included in the debates?