The Scottish Grocers Federation and ACS (The Association of Convenience Stores) have welcomed the call by Local Government and Planning Minister Derek Mackay that urges all public bodies in Scotland to make a commitment to “town centre first” for all their new investment decisions.
Under the principle, public bodies such as councils, the police and the NHS – will be encouraged to invest in such areas, and weigh up the financial pressure of closing down town centre facilities against the benefits of maintaining vibrant, healthy high streets.
SGF Chief Executive John Drummond said: “One of the biggest risks to our town centres across Scotland is the decision to locate public buildings like council offices, doctor’s surgeries or colleges outside town centres. These are often short sighted decisions that severely undermine the viability and vitality of local centres and has a knock on effect on local retailers. We encourage public bodies across Scotland to respond positively to the Ministers call.”
ACS Chief Executive James Lowman “The town centre first principle is an important initiative that we are keen to see succeed. Councils and other public sector bodies must ensure their investment plans are integrated for promoting growth in town centres. We will monitor this closely to see what can be learnt and applied elsewhere in the UK.”