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TCAP Forum

A New Future for Scotland’s Towns

Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP) plays a central role in informing, influencing and inspiring in the creation of towns and places of the future.

The blueprint for the future is underpinned by work led by STP’s chair, Leigh Sparks, a highly-respected academic who is Professor of Retail Studies and Deputy Principal at the University of Stirling.

His independent report, A New Future for Scotland’s Towns, was published in February 2021. This review of the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Action Plan (TCAP) set out a series of recommendations to make the nation’s towns greener, healthier, more equitable and inclusive – focussing on planet, people and the economy.

The joint response from the Scottish Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (CoSLA) to that report was published in April 2022.

Actions from that document – Scotland’s Town Centre Action Plan Review (TCAP2)  include:

  • Embedding a town centre first approach to meet community needs and tackle climate change
  • Incentivising entrepreneurship
  • Limiting out-of-town developments
  • Encouraging digital transformation
  • Exploring a new online sales tax to help traditional businesses compete with those operating online

“The continued decline of our town centres is far from inevitable. But, in order to turn the tide, we need to stop repeating the mistakes of the past. That means putting town centres first.”

You can read more about the launch of TCAP2 here.

Russel Grigg, Tom Arthur MSP and Professor Leigh Sparks at the launch of the TCAP2 report

Next steps: The TCAP Forum

Collaboration, partnership and working to build on local assets are key to delivering the Action Plan and our Town Centre Vision. Close work with communities, local government and public, third and private sector partners is essential.

The TCAP Forum has been established jointly by the Scottish Government and CoSLA to take that forward. It is being supported in its delivery by STP in facilitating forms and additional roundtable sessions, collating the intelligence gathered from them.

The purpose of the forum will include driving, supporting and challenging progress on the delivery of town centre actions, review progress and advise on opportunities and challenges.

In addition to the Forum, STP may organise events to focus on a particular theme or issue. 

Updates about the forum and its meetings will be shared here as they take place.

Scotland's Towns Partnership TCAP2 roadshow, Inverness. Some of the speakers, from left: Bryan Beattie (Inverness Castle), Kimberley Guthrie (STP), Phil Prentice (STP) and John Murray (Highland Food and Drink Club). August 24 2022

STP gathered feedback on TCAP2 during a series of roadshow events held across Scotland during summer 2022.