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Primrose Street, Alloa – How Town Centre Living projects can future-proof our towns

The award-winning Primrose Street development in Alloa was designed to meet the needs of an ageing population whilst having a positive impact on the local town centre.

The development which consists of 60 flats provides intergenerational town centre living in the heart of Alloa. The project has also been a catalyst for further regeneration and improvement works in the town centre.

Primrose Street exemplifies the importance of collaboration within the Council, primarily between Housing and Planning departments, to address the principles and barriers of town centre living. Engagement extended to Transportation, ensuring parking standards did not overshadow the site’s development potential. 

Collaboration also included the Council’s Registered Social Landlord (RSL) partner, Kingdom Housing Association (HA), local businesses, community representatives, third sector umbrella groups, and health and social care professionals. This broad engagement aimed to establish that residential development could enhance town centre vitality and address safety and accessibility for older adults and those with disabilities. Architecture & Design Scotland (A&DS) facilitated engagement sessions and design reviews, ensuring critical questions were addressed before planning stages.

Primrose Street was awarded the Scotland Loves Local Town Centre Living Award in 2022

A comprehensive, holisitc approach considered the broader context beyond the immediate development site, addressing how town centres need to adapt and how residential projects can reinforce the town centres role. It includes diverse stakeholders, such as dementia design specialists, to ensure a well-rounded development. This method fosters ambitious outcomes, innovative ideas, risk reduction by identifying issues early, and strengthens partnerships.

While more resource-intensive in terms of time, staff input, and cost, the holistic approach streamlined the planning process by resolving potential issues before submission. This proactive strategy eliminated surprises from consultees and ensured smoother project progression, demonstrating the value of the initial investment in resources.

Non-residential components were essential for creating a livable environment, differentiating mere housing developments from vibrant living spaces. These elements included shops, services, and public realm enhancements like improved lighting and accessible infrastructure, which significantly impact residents’ quality of life.

The Primrose Street project in Alloa underscores the effectiveness of a holistic and strategic placemaking approach. Through extensive collaboration, early engagement, and political support, the project not only delivered residential housing but also enhanced the overall vitality and livability of the town centre. These insights and practices offer valuable lessons for similar initiatives across Scotland.