Spotlight on town centre

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Kilsyth has been singled out in a report which highlights some of the issues facing small towns across Scotland.

The Built Environment Forum Scotland (BEFS) produced the report Small Towns in a Small Country which identifies some of the challenges facing places such as Kilsyth and provides a number of recommendations as to the steps which can be taken to ensure their future.

The report criticised Kilsyth for the lack of public toilets and facilities for the youth of the town. The impact of the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Regeneration Fund, however, was praised.

MSP Jamie Hepburn has now written to North Lanarkshire Council to press them to implement some of the improvements suggested in the report.

He said: “This report represents a valuable assessment of the successes and challenges facing all of Scotland’s small towns. The decision by the report’s authors to focus on Kilsyth as one of their case studies is very useful as it provides us with specific pointers on how to further improve the town.”

The council say they are developing a Town Centre Framework and Action Plan for each town.

Lorna Bowden, business manager, strategic planning, added: “These documents will act as blueprints for the future of town centres for the next five to ten years, including the regeneration and planning principles, accessibility, management and marketing. Town centres are facing increasing competition from out-of-town shopping centres, supermarkets and online sales so our challenge is to find a new sustainable future for our town centres. At each stage of developing our plans we are consulting with residents, shoppers, businesses and others, to make sure our plans meet the needs of those who use the town centres. Kilsyth was included in the Built Environment Forum Scotland report, which was very useful for the council and we will take into account its findings as we prepare the town’s Framework and Action Plan.”