Recommendation 1: Strengthen the formal positioning of towns and town centres in National Planning including requirements to produce town and town centre plans, co-produced with communities and enhance data collection and use at the town and town centre level.

  • Towns and town centres to be included and prioritised in National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4)

  • Town Centre Plans need to be developed and implemented with the local community and with a focus and commitment on the wellbeing of people, the planet and the economy

  • Develop a revised and enhanced focus on measurement and data for towns and town centres

Recommendation 2: Scottish Government should review the current tax, funding and development systems to ensure that wellbeing, economy and climate outcomes, fairness and equality are at their heart.

Potential suggestions for actions include:

  • Amendments to Non Domestic Rates (NDR)

  • Amendments to VAT

  • Introduce a digital tax

  • Introduce an Out-of-Town Car Parking Space Levy

  • Introduce a Moratorium on Out-Of-Town Development

Recommendation 3: Expanded and Aligned Funding of Demonstration Projects in Towns and Town Centres.

We have an overall request that the Scottish Government continues to seek to expand and ensure further alignment of the funding available. Funding for town centre activities has to be substantial, multi-year and cover revenue and capital spend. We recommend that projects should be focused around themes of

  • Town Centre Living Expansion – housing sector incentivisation in town centres

  • Digital Skills and Use in Towns – skills development for businesses and enterprises and extended uses of various technologies to understand and change behaviours in town centres

  • Enterprising Communities – Strategic Acquisition Fund to later ownership, development and use patterns in town centres to encourage local small business, community enterprises and entrepreneurship around local and circular economies

  • Climate Change Response – building on existing programmes in Climate Action Towns, micro-generation, retro-fitting of town centres buildings and the alteration of space in town centres for active travel, pedestrian movement, green space and social settings, with a view to enhancing the resilience of town centres against climate change.