In response to last year’s review of the Town Centre Action Plan, a joint report by the Scottish Government and COSLA outlines actions to better embed a ‘Town Centre First’ approach to meet the needs of communities and tackle climate change. Actions include:
- ensure town centre regeneration contributes to climate action by reducing emissions, investing in low carbon transport and creating more green spaces
- make town centre services as accessible as possible to help reduce unnecessary car journeys and prevent climate change
- incentivise entrepreneurship by delivering the ambitions set out in the National Strategy for Economic Transformation
- support businesses with town centre premises by exploring a new online sales tax that helps traditional businesses compete with those operating online
- use the planning system to limit out of town development and ensure our non-domestic rates system continues to support our net zero ambitions by providing reliefs for businesses generating more energy from renewable sources
- require developers to install and optimise digital connectivity in new town centre housing developments and support community organisations delivering digital skills training
Community Wealth Minister Tom Arthur said:
“This response has been developed in partnership with local government and recognises how vital town centres are for Scotland’s economic, environmental and social wellbeing.
“The actions in this report provide a framework to meet our ambitions and give communities the freedom and confidence to deliver locally. They will help improve our town centres following the pandemic and deliver net zero climate ambitions whilst promoting better planning and delivering enhanced digital capabilities for businesses and residents.
“This approach will also help us deliver the entrepreneurship ambitions set out in the National Strategy for Economic Transformation by creating enterprising communities. We all have a role to play in ensuring our towns and town centres deliver the needs of the whole community and these actions will help us deliver that ambition by creating healthier, fairer, greener and more successful towns.”