The Scottish Government welcomed the publication in July of Community and Enterprise In Scotland's Town Centres, the report produced by the External Advisory Group ( EAG) undertaking the National Town Centre Review. We are indebted to the Chair and EAG members for work that they have done over the past year. Short, direct and setting out a vision for Scotland's town centres which concentrates on community, enterprise and place, this body of work has provided us with clear recommendations and a raft of possible approaches to town centre revitalisation.
When commissioning the national review of town centres, the Deputy First Minister stated that "we want to take every measure possible to ensure that our town centres are vibrant places". The Scottish Government has responded to this call by appointing the Local Government and Planning Minister as lead Minister with responsibility for an action plan, reporting to the Deputy First Minister.
The Town Centre Action Plan sets out a cross-government response to the EAG report, sticking to the themed structure and succinct and direct tone of the original document. All directorates have been actively engaged, identifying the relevant policies, programmes and strategies which support and put in place the conditions for the recommendations of the EAG to be delivered locally and to assist local action. The Regeneration Unit is a central point of contact, responsible for co-ordinating the activity. The forthcoming Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill will outline additional powers which could be used to support the town centre agenda, and we will continue to consider other options to make sure that we are taking all necessary approaches to town centre regeneration.
Many of the solutions outlined in the EAG report are not for the Scottish Government to undertake directly. This plan is meant as added stimulus to encourage and support action across the wider public, private and community sectors, all of whom we invite to contribute to the efforts required ahead. Through this engagement we will facilitate action to help address issues faced by our town centres. This will also be achieved through demonstration projects to test emerging ideas to tackle these issues.
A great many people work daily for the benefit of town centres. The Scottish Government is just one key player in securing their future and we are determined to play our part in supporting them. This plan should be seen as a living document that can adapt to change, just as towns must adapt to ever changing circumstances.
Minister for Local Government and Planning