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Towns are the beating heart of Scotland

Successful towns of the future will be those in which people live, work and visit.

That is among the views of Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP) as it responded to a Scottish Parliament committee inquiry into their future.

The Economy and Fair Work Committee is looking at issues linked to the “new realities of retail and commerce”.

STP responded to the inquiry call for evidence as part of its role as the organising championing Scotland’s towns, places and neighbourhoods – sharing best practice about how to build stronger, fairer, more sustainable communities.

In its submission, STP stated: “Successful town centres of the future will be those in which people live, work and visit – where public transport links and active travel options are strong. Vibrant, exciting, mixed-use places are the key to fairer, greater, greener prosperity. 

“We need to capitalise on what’s above eye-level in our high streets and town centres to realise the tremendous potential which exists there in order to create good-quality homes in an area which is attractive to live, for people of all ages. 

“In order to achieve this, we need a more rigorous approach to greenspaces by ensuring the need for and importance of these are embedded in the national planning framework.”

The Economy and Fair Work Committee is exploring three areas: Keeping town centres alive; the new realities of Scottish retail; e-commerce in Scotland.

It comes as groups of all kinds look to reimagine the future of Scotland’s towns in a world shaped by the impact of both online retail and the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Setting the scene for STP’s submission, Chief Officer Phil Prentice wrote: “Towns are the beating heart of Scotland, with a long and proud history as the focus of personal and community life. Every one of our towns is unique with its own story to tell. 

“Individually and collectively, they hold huge potential from which to build a better future.”

Click here to read STP’s full submission.