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Achieving a Sustainable Future: Regeneration Strategy

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Delivering The Vision

60. The following sections outline the actions that the Scottish Government will undertake in support of the regeneration vision. All the actions identified within these sections take account of the responses to Building a Sustainable Future.

61. This section is not definitive in identifying the full range of interventions that support regeneration. A range of support is in place at local level to deliver regeneration outcomes and different support will be needed depending on local assets and need.

62. The actions within this section are based around three main strands:

  • Public service reform, taking an assets based approach, improving joint working and supporting local delivery
  • Support for community-led regeneration
  • Realising the economic potential of Scotland's communities through focussed funding and other support mechanisms.

Breaking the Cycle - Transforming the Future of Our Poorest Places

63. Respondents to Building a Sustainable Future recognised that to address the deeply ingrained economic, physical and social issues faced by some of Scotland's most disadvantaged communities, a sustained and coordinated approach across the public sector and its partners is required, alongside an increased focus on community led regeneration.

64. In some communities the scale of disadvantage is so significant that it can only be tackled by public sector agencies working together and across mainstream service delivery, and in partnership with communities, to understand the full spectrum of need and to identify and deliver on a range of solutions.

65. These solutions must deliver across a wide range of economic, physical and social outcomes and will involve utilising available resources from across mainstream budgets, including housing, health, justice and education.

66. The Scottish Government is committed to supporting this agenda. The following sections outline how we will do this.

Improving Local Delivery

67. Ensuring that local delivery is effective is crucial to achieving the outcomes that are required to support Scotland's communities and tackle disadvantage.

68. Local authorities are well placed to coordinate economic development and regeneration activity. They are also the lead statutory partners in community planning, the key process through which positive local outcomes for communities are planned and delivered through the Single Outcome Agreement. However, respondents to Building a Sustainable Future suggested that there is sometimes disparity in performance amongst local areas and potential to improve coordination of economic development and regeneration activity.

69. In partnership with the Improvement Service and SLAED (the Scottish Local Authorities Economic Development group), the Scottish Government has jointly funded the production of an improvement guide for local authority economic development services. Developed in partnership, this guide will support local authorities in delivering economic development and regeneration (including tackling market failure); exchanging good practice; assessing overall performance in delivering economic development; benchmarking performance; and identifying practice improvements to strengthen their performance and impact.

70. The Scottish Government is committed to implementing this guide alongside the Improvement Service and SLAED.

Working Together

"There is a need for the Scottish Government to provide strategic leadership…"

Discussion paper response

71. Successful regeneration is dependent on a wide range of organisations and individuals working together. It relies on coordinated action which encompasses economic, physical and social aspects, along with input from the public, private and third sectors, alongside communities themselves.

72. Respondents to Building a Sustainable Future called for the Scottish Government to set out clearly defined roles and responsibilities for delivery of regeneration. A summary of these roles and responsibilities is provided at Annex B.

73. The delivery landscape for regeneration is often complex, with different layers of government and partners involved depending on the circumstances, processes ( e.g. planning) and levels and types of intervention required. It is vital that the right working relationships are in place to deliver effective results.

The Contribution of the Public Sector

74. The public sector has a clear role to play in identifying assets and need and focusing resources on delivering the outcomes that are required to deliver positive, sustained change.

75. At a national level the Scottish Government has a key role in setting the vision and strategic direction for regeneration in Scotland, providing an overarching framework for delivery and putting in place the right conditions to implement that vision, evaluating and driving forward change to make a lasting difference. The development and implementation of this Regeneration Strategy is the primary vehicle for doing this.

76. Local authorities are best placed to ensure local regeneration is delivered alongside other critical functions including housing, planning and education. In partnership with CPPs they can ensure that the resources they have available are directed by the genuine needs of local people and that the right working relationships are in place to deliver regeneration in partnership.

77. The third sector and communities, alongside others, play a vital role in supporting the local delivery of regeneration and often underpin the success of local authority/ CPP approaches.

78. Other public sector organisations including the Enterprise Networks, Scottish Water, Creative Scotland and other cultural bodies, Transport Scotland and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency ( SEPA) can also play a key role in supporting regeneration outcomes, both in relation to their investment in infrastructure and development, and in the delivery of their core functions. For example, physical regeneration is often dependent on the effective provision of roads and drainage infrastructure, alongside efficient consideration of wider economic, environmental and cultural issues.

Supporting Partnership Working

79. Respondents to Building a Sustainable Future indicated that effective collaboration between public, private and third sector partners does not always work in practice. Many of the levers for effective partnership working lie at a local level and it is for local authorities, CPPs and others to ensure that the right collaborations are in place. However, the Scottish Government also has a role in facilitating more effective joint working. The actions identified below reflect this role and commit the Scottish Government to strengthening partnerships as appropriate to deliver the regeneration vision. In particular, this applies to joint working across the public and private sectors.

80. The Scottish Government recognises the influence that private sector partners can have, not only in delivering local development but also in shaping national outcomes and developing innovative funding solutions. We are committed to engaging with the private sector and to facilitating engagement between the private sector and other public sector partners (such as local authorities) where appropriate.

Scottish Government Coordination

81. At a national level, the Scottish Government will work in partnership across government departments and public sector agencies to ensure that regeneration outcomes and support for communities feature strongly as part of government policies, including health, education and justice.

82. The Scottish Government is also committed to improving collaboration across public sector agencies and will share the outputs from this collaboration with local partners as appropriate. To support this work, a high-level group will be established, led by the Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment, to identify and overcome barriers to collaborative working and to place communities at the heart of the public sector approach.

The Achieving Change Programme - Local Public Service Reform

83. To help break the cycle of area-based deprivation and to help transform the future of Scotland's poorest places we will launch the Achieving Change Programme.

84. The Achieving Change Programme will be developed over the course of 2012 in partnership with key stakeholders including public sector partners.

85. The aims of this programme are to see the public sector:

  • increasingly recognise and build on areas' and people's strengths and potential - seeing the positive assets that people have and working with these, rather than seeing people as a mix of problems
  • working even better together and with key voluntary sector organisations to target mainstream resources focussed on identified local need
  • involving people even more deeply in developing solutions
  • being even smarter with data to help properly understand the dynamics in areas and help drive continuous improvement.

86. This fits clearly with one of the pillars of this Government's response to the Christie Commission, greater integration of public services at local level.

87. The Achieving Change Programme will be used to raise the profile of efforts across the country to tackle area-based disadvantage and to promote and encourage culture change in the public sector to ensure even more joined-up approaches are taken to tackling the long-standing problems faced by too many of Scotland's communities.

88. Public sector agencies will be invited to submit proposals during the course of 2012 to the Scottish Government to take part in the Achieving Change Programme. The Government will commit to supporting the programme by:

  • providing investment to help participants in the programme to learn from each other and from wider good practice
  • providing participants with a national profile to recognise their efforts
  • providing support from Scottish Government staff (for example, from analysts responsible for SIMD to help some local partners better understand the full potential of the data available)
  • listening to local experience in order to help shape future Scottish Government policy which impacts on disadvantaged areas.

Actions

The Scottish Government will:

  • Work with the Improvement Service and SLAED on the effective implementation of the improvement guide for local authority economic development services.
  • Work with the public, private and third sectors, alongside communities, to share knowledge and improve delivery
  • Lead engagement with the private sector at a national level to fund, inform and deliver regeneration
  • Identify opportunities to coordinate engagement between private sector and key public sector partners, including local authorities, to support the development of productive partnerships at a local level
  • Improve internal Scottish Government and cross-agency collaboration and ensure that regeneration outcomes are embedded within mainstream policies. A high-level working group, to be led by the Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment, will be established to support this work.
  • Develop and deliver the 'Achieving Change Programme' - in partnership with key stakeholders during 2012.

Community Led Regeneration - Local People Delivering Local Change

89. As already stated, the public sector working together and with the voluntary sector and local people has a critical role to play in regenerating our most disadvantaged and fragile communities. However, the Scottish Government is clear that the involvement of local people in public sector led activity is not community led regeneration.

90. Community led regeneration is about local people identifying for themselves the issues and opportunities in their areas, deciding what to do about them, and being responsible for delivering the economic, social and environmental action that will make a difference. It is dependent on the energy and commitment of local people themselves and has a wide range of benefits.

91. This Regeneration Strategy places support for community led regeneration at the heart of its approach, recognising that the changes required to make all communities sustainable will only be achieved when communities themselves play a part in delivering change.

92. The Scottish Government is committed to supporting community led regeneration in order to:

  • grow the numbers and strength of locally controlled, enterprising community organisations which can anchor long term sustainable change in disadvantaged communities
  • support locally based organisations to take on ownership of viable assets
  • help people to organise and respond to challenges in areas where capacity is currently low

93. Community led regeneration covers a spectrum of activity from committed volunteers coming together informally to campaign or act, to the work of enterprising local community anchor organisations like Development Trusts and community based housing associations.

94. The Scottish Government is clear that this community led activity is part of the rich and diverse picture of the third sector in Scotland. Our commitment to that sector is not in doubt. The Scottish Government is committed to supporting its development, strengthening its role in decisions around the design and delivery of public services and increasing its economic contribution.

95. We are starting from a strong position in Scotland. There is already an impressive range of activity taking place across urban and rural communities. This is led by hundreds of committed local anchor organisations that drive change across a broad spectrum including: environmental issues; promoting local economic growth; tackling unemployment; supporting vulnerable people; challenging health inequalities; working with young people; and arts and cultural activity. Crucially, they deliver what local people themselves know will make a difference.

96. However, it is not enough to focus only on those places where strong community led organisations already exist. Some communities need support to help organise, plan action and start to form their own anchor organisations. It was a strong message from Building a Sustainable Future that it is important to recognise the need for this community capacity building support to maximise the potential that exists in all of Scotland's communities.

97. The actions below demonstrate how the Scottish Government will support community led action through a range of new and existing support, actions being taken by other organisations are included as appropriate.

People and Communities Fund

98. Building on the success of the Wider Role fund and recognising the important role that Registered Social Landlords ( RSLs) and other community groups like Development Trusts play in delivering change at a local level, we have developed the People and Communities Fund. This fund forms part of the overarching Regeneration Investment Fund (see below).

99. The Scottish Government will provide £7.9m per annum from 2012 to 2015 to support the People and Communities Fund, specifically to promote and support community led regeneration. The details of this fund will be announced in 2012, however, activity will include:

  • Building on the Wider Role fund, funding to support and strengthen local community anchor organisations across Scotland, including RSLs and Development Trusts. These will be organisations that deliver local regeneration activity and promote change in our most deprived urban areas, our fragile town centres and ex-coalfield communities.
  • Support for community asset ownership through the Community Ownership Support Service. This service, provided through the Development Trusts Association Scotland ( DTAS), provides help and advice to community organisations interested in asset ownership.
  • Investment in a new community capacity building programme. This will focus on areas where there are currently few local organisations, weak networks amongst local people and where local people's skills and confidence need to be nurtured. It will have a focus on helping people to decide how budgets in their areas are spent.
  • Continuing to provide dedicated support to the Coalfields Regeneration Trust to help it develop as a self sufficient social enterprise. This will enable it to build on its strong profile in ex-coalfield communities and to develop its capacity building role further.
  • Support for the Achieving Change Programme.

The Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill

100. This Bill is expected to be introduced to the Scottish Parliament in 2013/14. This legislation will help support local people to unlock their potential for driving change on their own terms. In developing the Bill the Scottish Government will examine how to make it easier for communities to take on ownership of unused and underused publicly owned assets and how they can do more about vacant and derelict property in their neighbourhoods. The Bill will also take account of the Christie Commission recommendation to explore how participation of local people in the planning and delivery of services can be strengthened and how the capacity of those in our most disadvantaged areas can be built to help them to do that.

Community Renewables

101. The Scottish Government will maximise the benefits for communities from renewables and to transform the level of opportunity for local ownership of energy. Our ambition is for all Scottish communities to share in the rich rewards of our renewable energy revolution. Scotland is already leading the way across the UK in how it supports local ownership of renewable energy projects which provide wider community benefits. This local ownership can play an increasingly important role in helping communities to resource and develop their own futures.

102. The Scottish Government has worked extensively over the past year with industry, Ofgem, the Department of Energy and Climate Change ( DECC) and other stakeholders to present a strong Scottish voice for change to Project Transmit, Ofgem's review of transmission charging. We are clear that the current charging regime, which penalises renewable generation for locating in areas of best resource, must change - and as Ofgem prepares to publish its recommendations we will continue to work for a fairer regime that will encourage renewable projects, not hinder them.

Climate Challenge Fund

103. The Scottish Government will continue to provide support for community led action on climate change through the Climate Challenge Fund. The fund will have an increasing focus on encouraging community enterprise and will have a new strand, a Junior Climate Challenge Fund, to support specific actions by young people in their communities.

Dormant Bank Accounts Grant Scheme

104. This fund is currently being developed through a consultation process by the BIG Lottery in Scotland. The scheme will cover priorities agreed by the Scottish Parliament:

  • opportunities for Young People
  • addressing health inequalities through increased activity
  • strengthening inter-generational activities
  • creating community-based employment opportunities

Charitable Bonds

105. The Scottish Government is working jointly with a leading housing association to explore the feasibility of a Scottish Charitable Bond. This will assess potential themes for investment, including employability, early intervention and tackling poverty, and identifying investor support. The introduction of charitable bonds would offer a funding stream for RSL house-building programmes and would also provide a funding stream for charities that deliver on a range of regeneration social outcomes, without the need for public sector resource.

Support for the Third Sector

106. The Scottish Government is undertaking a range of activity to help strengthen and support the third sector in Scotland. This includes:

  • strategic support for and engagement with key national intermediaries and the local network of interfaces that enable local engagement between third sector and community planning partnerships
  • organisational support that delivers third sector growth through the development of skills
  • direct investment in enterprising third sector organisations and the development of new finance models
  • identification of opportunities for an increased role of the third sector in the transformation of public service delivery

107. A £500k Community Ownership Fund will be created to help communities to explore taking ownership of their local sports facilities.

Other Support for Community Led Regeneration

108. The BIG Lottery in Scotland plans to continue its significant amount of community led activity covering a wide range of issues in Scotland. Some of BIG's grant schemes have been at the forefront of encouraging communities to be enterprising and develop their asset base in order to become sustainable in the long term. Significant programmes include Growing Community Assets; the development of a new independent JESSICA (Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas) trust; the neighbourhood-focussed Our Place; and Community Spaces Scotland.

109. Chance to Thrive is a pilot project being promoted by the Church of Scotland in some of the poorest neighbourhoods in Scotland. Building places where we all want to live requires the widest partnership and genuine local ownership of initiatives. Those who live in an area are the experts in their neighbourhood; involving them in a 'bottom up, people centred' regeneration that focuses and builds on the local aspirations and expertise could be more successful than 'top down' regeneration that focuses primarily on infrastructure. The project involves long term mentoring & support given by a volunteer group of experienced people, and develops the connections and commitment faith groups can bring to regeneration.

110. Inspiring Scotland's Link Up programme is a new assets based programme funded by the Scottish Government's CashBack for Communities which will look at how strengthening social networks, and facilitating opportunities for people to help each other, builds trust. The programme will work in ten areas and will have a strong focus on learning lessons.

Actions

The Scottish Government will:

  • Work with stakeholders to develop and deliver the People and Communities Fund to provide support to communities
  • Introduce the Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill
  • Ensure renewable projects developed on the public land are leaders in the provision of community benefit.
  • Continue to provide funding to communities through the Climate Challenge Fund
  • Develop a Dormant Bank Accounts grant scheme
  • Investigate the feasibility of a Scottish Charitable Bond
  • Introduce a £500k Community Ownership Fund to help communities to explore taking ownership of their local sports facilities.
  • Continue to work with key external partners, including BIG in Scotland, to share learning and to align funds where appropriate around a set of shared outcomes.

Investing in the Economic Potential of Our Communities

"Regeneration in the current context of developing policy must reflect a model of financing and not of funding as previously expected"

Discussion paper response

111. Building a Sustainable Future set out the challenges facing regeneration in the current economic climate. In particular, there are significant challenges in supporting economic and physical change in Scotland's communities with limited availability of public sector grant and private sector resources.

112. Respondents to Building a Sustainable Future recognised that funding models need to change with greater emphasis on financing (for example, through provision of loans) as opposed to grant where this is appropriate. The re-configuring of resources into the Regeneration Investment Fund reflects this shift.

113. Mainstream resources and services at both national and local level, including health, justice, housing and transport can also have a significant impact on regeneration outcomes. It is vital that these resources take account of the needs of communities and work together to address economic, physical and social issues in a joined up and effective manner.

114. The list of interventions below is not exhaustive. Other key actions are being carried out across government including: significant infrastructure investment through the Infrastructure Investment Plan; funding and other support to ensure that all people in Scotland live in high-quality, sustainable homes that they can afford and which meet their needs (as set out in Homes Fit for the 21 st Century); support for small businesses through the Small Business Bonus Scheme; and work to support CPPs and local authorities to deliver employability support through Achieving Our Potential.

Regeneration Investment Fund - Capital Investment

115. The Regeneration Investment Fund is an overarching fund that draws together key funding streams to focus activity on the priority outcomes required to deliver successful regeneration. This fund has two distinct but interrelated parts: a Capital Investment Fund and the People and Communities Fund.

116. The Capital Investment Fund provides support for physical development and will focus on a number of key interventions: land remediation, enabling infrastructure, and support for town centres. Past capital regeneration funding has tended to focus on a small number of areas or organisations, and in particular pump-prime funding for the Urban Regeneration Companies ( URCs) who have delivered some important outcomes in the communities in which they operate. The new capital investment fund will provide flexibility and support to the areas that need it most and to the organisations that can best deliver results - be they URCs, CPPs or communities (amongst others). Funding will no longer be ring-fenced for a limited number of organisations or areas, recognising the breadth of need across Scotland.

117. The Capital Investment Fund encompasses three elements.

  • SPRUCE, Scotland's JESSICA Fund: This will provide loan support to revenue-generating regeneration projects within the 13 eligible areas. Currently totalling £50m, it is anticipated that the fund will be recycled up to 3 times within 10 years, providing a significant resource to support successful regeneration in key areas.
  • A £25m per annum Regeneration Capital Grant Fund: This will be used in the short-term to continue to provide direct grant support for URCs. Scope for future activity will be developed in consultation with key stakeholders, including COSLA.
  • The Vacant and Derelict Land Fund ( VDLF): This fund is available to selected local authorities to tackle issues with long-standing vacant and derelict land. It will be made available as £8.1m in 2012/13, £7.5m in 2013/14 and £11m in 2014/15. The Scottish Government will work with COSLA to revisit the focus of the VDLF in the future, to provide more flexibility to local authorities to respond to issues with vacant and derelict land and property.

Actions

The Scottish Government will:

  • Continue to provide key funding to regeneration projects through the Regeneration Investment Fund.
  • Use the lessons from SPRUCE, Scotland's JESSICA Fund, to inform future development of innovative funding models.
  • Work with stakeholders to establish the scope of the Regeneration Capital Grant Fund to determine how, where and to who it should be allocated in the future.
  • Engage with COSLA and local authorities to ensure that maximum benefit is derived from the VDLF. This will include reviewing the types of activity supported.

Additional Funding and Support

118. A number of other key Scottish Government funding streams and initiatives also include a focus on investing in the physical and economic infrastructure of our communities and play in a key role in delivering regeneration outcomes. Some of these are outlined below.

119. European Structural Funds provides significant investment for regeneration and economic development, alongside funding to address social inequalities, through the European Regional Development Fund ( ERDF) and European Social Fund ( ESF) programmes. £24m from the 2007-13 ERDF programme has been committed to support SPRUCE, Scotland's JESSICA, Fund; with in excess of £38m grant funding already committed from ERDF Priority 3 (Urban Regeneration) to projects across Lowlands and Uplands Scotland.

120. Historic Scotland ( HS) provides £12m annually through its grant programmes to support heritage related projects; including three specific funding streams which aim to help deliver regeneration outcomes - the Conservative Area Regeneration Scheme ( CARS), the City Heritage Trusts and the Building Repair Grant. Together these represent direct investment into heritage led regeneration of some £9m annually. Additionally HS fulfils a broader role within regeneration as it supports local employment at its sites and monuments, and has also developed a strategy for sustaining and developing traditional building skills in Scotland - a key driver in local sustainability.

121. Many of the HS grant programmes complement, and work in partnership with, equivalent streams from the Heritage Lottery Fund; enabling significant levels of match funding to be levered into projects.

122. Tax Incremental Financing ( TIF) is a means of funding public sector investment in infrastructure judged to be necessary to unlock regeneration in an area, and which may otherwise be unaffordable to local authorities or undeliverable through the private sector. The Scottish Futures Trust ( SFT) on behalf of the Scottish Government is playing active role in the development of TIF as funding mechanism for major regeneration schemes. The Scottish Government is supportive of a limited number of pilot projects to test applicability of TIF to Scottish circumstances.

123. Depending on progress with TIF pilots, the Scottish Government will consider bringing forward primary legislation to roll out TIF more widely across Scotland.

124. A Next Generation Digital Fund has been established to accelerate the roll out of superfast broadband across Scotland, with a particular focus on rural areas. In total up to £144.3 million of Government funding will be available to 2015/16. The fund will also seek to optimise public sector investment in broadband infrastructure and leverage maximum levels of private sector investment to improve broadband coverage in Scotland.

125. The establishment of four Enterprise Areas across Scotland will contribute towards creating a more supportive business environment. Enterprise Areas aim to reduce barriers to private investment in the short to medium term and help stimulate new economic activity, including in locations with a need for improved economic performance. The Scottish Government is currently working with its enterprise agencies to assess potential Enterprise Area sites against a rigorous set of criteria including the need to improve local economic performance.

126. By focusing on manufacturing opportunities in growth sectors and seeking to optimise the use of Scotland's natural resources and knowledge, Scotland can develop an international competitive advantage in sectors like renewables manufacturing thus generating additional value for the Scottish economy, creating new jobs and minimising the impact of displacement.

127. The Central Scotland Green Network Development Fund provides support for projects that enhance the natural environment and improve access to high quality greenspace in Central Scotland. Projects targeting communities suffering from multiple deprivation are afforded priority. Around £2.1m has been provided to projects in the central belt in the two years from 2010-12 and further investment will be announced shortly.

128. The Scottish Government is committed to continuing to promote the use of Community Benefits in Procurement to ensure that maximum economic benefit - for example, jobs and training - are secured for local communities through physical development.

Actions

The Scottish Government will:

  • Ensure that the remaining funds in the 2007-13 ERDF programme are prioritised to support the delivery of key regeneration outcomes, particularly where there is an opportunity to tackle market failure and generate economic growth.
  • Work with the European Commission to shape the future Structural Funds programme (2014-2020) to offer support for regeneration capital projects and to complement the activities underway through the Regeneration Investment Fund.
  • Continue to provide support for heritage related projects through Historic Scotland's capital grant programme and pursue alignment between the aims of this programme and other regeneration funding streams.
  • Depending on progress with TIF pilots, the Scottish Government will consider bringing forward primary legislation to roll out TIF more widely across Scotland.
  • Deliver the Next Generation Digital Fund to accelerate the roll-out of next generation broadband across Scotland.
  • Establish four Enterprise Areas which, by focusing on manufacturing opportunities in growth sectors, will help create a supportive business environment, encourage faster economic growth and generate new employment opportunities.

Innovative Funding

"One key aspect on making progress is finding funding mechanisms that respond to a change from grant funding to investment loans. Clearly this change is necessary as Government no longer has the capital resources to sustain many of its grant programmes".

Discussion paper response

129. The current economic climate coupled with reduced availability of public sector funding means that innovative solutions are required to support change. The Scottish Government has already developed a range of innovative funding solutions, including SPRUCE, Scotland's JESSICA fund, and the National Housing Trust.

Actions

The Scottish Government will:

  • Work with public and private sector partners, including organisations such as the Scottish Futures Trust, to develop new and innovative funding models which will provide a direct benefit to local authorities and their partners.
  • Support local authorities to develop local innovative funding solutions where appropriate.
  • Ensure alignment of funding streams where possible to support the delivery of shared outcomes.

Support for Town Centres

"Fundamental questions regarding the role and function of place need asking, rather than seeking to regenerate…a town centre by returning or restoring it to a rose tinted view of its past. 'What kind of place can this be?' is a question that all communities should be asking themselves".

Discussion paper response

130. Town centres are a key element of the economic and social fabric of Scotland. Support for town centres forms a key part of the regeneration vision and supporting outcomes. Town centres can be a central component of successful local economies and offer a base for small businesses and jobs. Town centres are often at the core of community life, offering spaces to meet and interact and access to facilities and services that people require.

131. It is important that town centres are functioning, well-maintained assets that develop to support the needs of their residents, businesses and visitors.

132. There are a number of well-documented issues faced by Scotland's town centres and local high streets. This is not just the result of the impact of the economic downturn. The loss of big name anchor stores from the high street accelerated and threw into sharp relief issues which have been developing in towns over the past two decades. These issues include outmoded shops and lack of diversity; accessibility; rents and rates; competition from supermarkets and out of town retail; and the problems associated with empty properties. For Scotland's town centres to be successful, these issues need to be addressed. The role of planning is also important in this context, in relation to the positive impact it can have in supporting town centres.

133. Scottish Government research into town centre regeneration highlighted the need for town centre regeneration to have clear vision and strategy. The research also found that as well as physical intervention, social and economic activity was also necessary in helping to regenerate Scotland's town centres.

134. The Scottish Government will undertake a national review of town centres in 2012 to scope out potential solutions to the issues faced by Scotland's town centres and to enable a measured, long-term approach to town centre regeneration by targeting these issues. The review will be developed and implemented in partnership with local authorities, community groups and other key stakeholders

135. Although many of the issues identified do not necessarily require a financial response, funding support can sometimes help to kick-start recovery. Whilst a number of the required financial and support levers lie at local level, the Scottish Government will focus resources on supporting town centres where this is practicable. The national review will be used to identify where additional funding support is required and this will form part of the future focus for the Regeneration Investment Fund.

136. Business Improvement Districts ( BIDs) are one potential mechanism for encouraging continuous investment in town centres and for mustering efforts to market and promote them. BIDs deliver a sustainable financial model to local businesses who have voted to invest collectively in local improvements. The Scottish Government supports the BID model and provides grant funding to Improvement Districts Scotland Ltd (to support and encourage developing BIDs) and to business groups and associations to develop their BID proposals.

137. Alternative models offering support include 'Start-up Street' in Stirling which is being developed in partnership between Stirling Council and Architecture + Design Scotland, and Retail Rocks! in Aberdeen. Local authorities and their partners are encouraged to consider models that are appropriate to local circumstances and develop these as appropriate. This issue will be considered as part of the national review of town centres.

138. Reform of Empty Property Relief from April 2013 will introduce incentives to bring vacant premises back into use and reduce the prevalence of empty properties in town centres and support urban regeneration.

Actions

The Scottish Government will:

  • Undertake a national review of town centres in 2012 in partnership with local authorities and other key stakeholders
  • Align funding streams where possible, including aspects of the Regeneration Investment Fund, in order to provide appropriate support for town centres as identified within the national review.
  • Introduce Reform of Empty Property Relief from April 2013.
  • Continue to provide funding to support and encourage the development of BIDS across Scotland.

Housing

139. Housing is a key part of our physical, economic, and social fabric. It is also critical to the wider development of our ambitions in Place. Whilst housing quality is a key factor in the quality of individual and family life it also has important economic impacts. In the short term, government funded house construction can provide valuable support to industry in times of economic downturn. The Scottish Government has expanded housing supply programmes, accelerated funding where appropriate, and over the period 2008-11, invested a record £1.7 billion in affordable housing; achieving our target to approve around 21,500 new/improved affordable homes. Over the longer term, a well functioning housing system is a key component of a society's infrastructure. A large stock of good quality, appropriate housing will help us achieve the country's full potential through better employment opportunities, healthier lives and a more prosperous and equal society.

140. Our vision is for a housing system by 2020 which provides an affordable home for all. To achieve this we will need a strong recovery in the construction sector and a substantial increase in the number of homes of all types, including housing to meet the needs of disabled people and older people for independent living. We also need to see improvements in the quality of our homes, so that everyone has a warm and comfortable home, whether they own it, part own it, rent it privately, or rent from a social landlord. Equally, the system must cater for the variety of needs and demands, offering different tenures and flexible transitions between tenures, helping to enhance economic growth and social mobility, as well as strengthening our communities.

141. Housing is and will remain a priority for the Scottish Government and we have pledged to deliver 30,000 affordable homes over the next five years . We will work with all housing providers to seek creative, innovative approaches to help us meet our targets for affordable homes, which will include support for local developments by Registered Social Landlords and others as part of planned local regeneration programmes. We recognise the vital role of social housing in providing people with an affordable home and a platform for getting on in life and so at least two-thirds of the 30,000 will be for social rent. We will also support intermediate products such as shared equity and homes for intermediate rent.

142. The Scottish Government's Strategy for Housing, Homes Fit for the 21 st Century, outlines a series of action intended to support housing quality and supply across Scotland. Provision of housing can make a significant contribution to the creation of sustainable places and improving the physical environment.

143. Tackling long-term empty homes helps support the regeneration of communities by ensuring that buildings are functional and fully utilised. Long-term empty properties are a wasted resource and can often contribute to the physical decline of Scotland's neighbourhoods. The Scottish Government is funding the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership which is managed by Shelter Scotland to build capacity of local authorities and partners to bring long-term empty homes back into use. In addition, the Scottish Government will bring forward legislation which will give local authorities the extra flexibility to increase the amount of Council Tax charged on long-term empty homes.

144. The Scottish Housing Quality Standard ( SHQS) sets out the minimum standard expected for Scottish homes. SHQS includes the tolerable standard, disrepair, energy efficiency, modern facilities and a safe and secure place to live. All social landlords (local authorities and housing associations) are required to meet SHQS for all their rented homes by April 2015. The Scottish Government has published guidance to support social landlords to do this.

145. Up to £10m will be provided through the House building infrastructure loan fund ( HILF) to support the provision of on-site enabling physical infrastructure and other work genuinely required to commence house-building projects and thereby accelerate house-building in the current economic climate.

146. Working in partnership with Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Housing Association in Glasgow's eight Transformational Regeneration Areas ( TRAs) the Scottish Government will seek to maximise the value that can be realised through an integrated and long-term approach to development and regeneration, and will aim to deliver high quality neighbourhoods together with opportunities for economic and community development. Scottish Ministers will nominate Board members to the Special Purpose Vehicle which will drive this forward. This process is already underway with the initiation of housing development at the first three activated TRAs at Laurieston, Maryhill and Gallowgate and the Scottish Government is working with partners towards activating a further two TRAs at North Toryglen and Shawbridge.

Actions

The Scottish Government will:

  • Work with all housing providers to seek creative, innovative approaches to deliver the target of 30,000 affordable homes across Scotland over the next five years.
  • Bring forward legislation to the Scottish Parliament to tackle issues with long-term empty homes
  • Continue to support social landlords to help target spending on housing improvements and to raise awareness of the SHQS amongst tenants.
  • Help kick-start house-building through the £10m House Building Infrastructure Loan Fund.

Placemaking

"Priority needs to be the development of real places where people want to live, work, visit and spend time".

Discussion paper response

147. Successful placemaking can pull together key community, social and economic issues essential to successful regeneration and is at the heart of building sustainable communities. Because it brings many different influences together, placemaking can have an important impact on long-term sustainability and on the quality of the communities created. The Scottish Government will continue to support quality placemaking in Scotland's communities through a range of policies and tools.

148. An efficient planning system is crucial in ensuring that developments can be delivered effectively at local and national level. Scottish Government measures to increase the effectiveness of the planning system include; increasing co-operation, being more proportionate in processes, decision making and enabling planning authorities to be properly resourced. Such modernisation is designed to ensure that planning can assist in delivering good development. The Government is continuing to take action to sharpen the planning system's focus on performance and delivering a high-quality service that supports development and economic growth

149. Compulsory Purchase Orders ( CPOs) are a valuable tool that local authorities can use to free-up 'blocked' land and assemble sites which can attract investment. CPOs can help facilitate regeneration and wider economic development projects that would otherwise not have been possible. The Scottish Government is committed to making the CPO process more efficient and enabling CPO powers to be more widely used in future, as appropriate, to drive forward development where it is needed.

150. Quality design is crucial in supporting the creation of successful places. Designing Streets and Designing Places are Scottish Government policies that we expect to be taken into account and form the basis of any proposals for regeneration initiatives.

151. The Scottish Government is committed to promoting good practice in the design and delivery of our new and regenerated places and an online resource is being produced to showcase examples of good new development across Scotland. This will be a 'live' resource database and will be expanded over time as new projects are built that will showcase the best of Scottish development. The website will be used to showcase good practice in regeneration and to inspire built environment professionals, as well as the general public, about good design and what it is possible to achieve in the future.

152. Architecture + Design Scotland (A+DS) is Scotland's national champion for architecture and placemaking. A+DS play a crucial role in the promotion of good design and placemaking through a number of programmes and practice initiatives. This includes working with Scotland's URCs to promote good design practice, in particular through the production of design case studies.

153. The Scottish Sustainable Communities Initiative ( SSCI)works with projects across Scotland, including two URCs, which are dedicated to embedding the benefits of good place-making and high quality design at the heart of new and regenerated communities. The Scottish Government is committed to the success of the SSCI, alongside the SSCI Charrette Mainstreaming Programme, and to ensuring that the lessons from the SSCI are disseminated widely to inform placemaking activity across Scotland.

154. The Central Scotland Green Network ( CSGN) is a national development within the Scottish Government's National Planning Framework which aims to transform the natural environment of Central Scotland, making it a more attractive place to live, invest and do business and improving quality of life for residents. The initiative aims to tackle environmental dereliction and ensure everyone has access to high quality greenspace within walking distance of their home. We know that our most disadvantaged communities commonly suffer from the poorest quality environments and they are therefore a priority for the initiative, working with local authorities and regeneration agencies.

155. Cultural and creative projects have the capacity to deliver against a number of environmental, economic and social objectives making them a potential force for regeneration. The Scottish Government recognises that as well as contributing to the economic development of an area, cultural and creative activities can help to foster new skills, build confidence and support community cohesion. We encourage those responsible for delivering regeneration locally to consider how cultural and creative projects can be integrated into schemes.

156. There is significant potential for the benefits from major events to be felt across Scotland both culturally and economically. For example, through the funded and partner programmes associated with the Year of Creative Scotland in 2012 there is likely to be a boost to deprived areas and to wider community regeneration and social inclusion. In addition, 2013's Year of Natural Scotland, Homecoming 2014 and the Ryder Cup also have significant potential to boost regeneration.

157. The Scottish Government is working closely with Glasgow City Council and Clyde Gateway URC to maximise the opportunities that the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games provide to revitalise parts of the city. Infrastructure is being put in place that will help to ensure the Games are successful in 2014 and will leave a permanent legacy from the event. In addition to the physical regeneration, the Games will support people moving in to and towards employment through Games-related job, volunteering and training opportunities. The Scottish Government is providing substantial public funding to support the staging of the Commonwealth Games. In addition to delivering a sporting spectacle, it is intended that this funding will stimulate a lasting legacy from which the people of Glasgow and Scotland will benefit.

Actions

The Scottish Government will:

  • Ensure that Scotland's planning system is effective and proportionate and that it supports sustainable economic growth and regeneration outcomes.
  • Work with stakeholders to continue to improve the Compulsory Purchase Order ( CPO) process
  • Continue to work with planning authorities to ensure that quality design features at the heart of placemaking.
  • Continue to support A+DS as Scotland's placemaking champion
  • Continue to provide support to the Scottish Sustainable Communities Initiative ( SSCI) and the SSCI Charrette Mainstreaming Programme
  • Provide continuing support to the Central Scotland Green Network ( CSGN) and provide funding through the CSGN development fund for projects that improve the environment in regeneration areas.
  • Continue to support local authorities to deliver change through Creative Scotland's Place Partnerships Programme.
  • Encourage those responsible for delivering regeneration to incorporate creative and cultural projects within regeneration schemes.

Making the Most of Public Sector Assets

158. Local authorities and other public sector partners often have significant tranches of land available which could return dividends if treated as a working asset rather than as part of the estate. They also have revenue funding streams which can be utilised to kick start the purchase / regeneration or new build of assets (for example, through local asset backed vehicles).

159. The public sector should make the most of the assets and resources that are available in order to support local regeneration activity, and should take account of the needs of communities when making investment decisions in relation to physical and economic development.

160. Maximising the use of the public-sector asset base and reducing procurement costs for community infrastructure projects is at the heart of the hub initiative. The hub initiative is led by the Scottish Futures Trust on behalf of the Scottish Government. It brings community planning partners, including health boards, local authorities, police, and fire and rescue services together with a private sector development partner to increase joint working and deliver best value through the shared delivery of sustainable community buildings - from small GP practices to large combined community, health and sports centres.

Actions

The Scottish Government will:

  • work with the Scottish Futures Trust and other key stakeholders to develop a Scotland-wide implementation programme for asset management activity which will apply at both national and local level.
  • work with the Scottish Futures Trust to develop the hub initiative and secure roll-out throughout Scotland, across the five designated hub territories.