Town Centre Action Plan: Scottish Government response

Our response to the National Review of Town Centres.

Accessible Public Services

The Scottish Government recognise the value of place-based decision-making happening alongside a fuller and transparent assessment of the wider impacts. This requires going beyond cost benefit analysis of short term savings and looking to the potential medium to longer term economic and social impacts of proposals on town centres. This principle applies equally to the practices of the Scottish Government, as well as those in the national agencies and wider public sector. Sustainable transport options are key in terms of ensuring access to our town centres. The Scottish Government will undertake the following:



  • We will endeavour to amplify guidance in the Scottish Public Finance Manual to ensure that bodies acquiring and disposing of public sector assets and property consider the degree of priority attached to town centres.


  • We will discuss inclusion of the Town Centre First Principle in the NHS Property Transaction Handbook.


  • We will encourage Community Planning Partnerships to consider how they bring the town centre first principle to the fore when delivering on their current Single Outcome Agreements and when developing further. We will produce information and advice to help CPPs link the 'place' agenda with spatial planning and quality placemaking principles.


  • We will work with Architecture + Design Scotland and Scottish Futures Trust to investigate ways of expanding the role of place-based reviews.


  • We will recognise as part of National Planning Framework 3, the role that town centres play as integrated transport hubs.


  • We will support local authorities and others with projects to improve bus services through the Bus Investment Fund.


  • We will work with local authorities and other relevant partners to develop and maintain walking and cycling routes, public realm improvements and cycle parking facilities in town centre areas where high levels of cycling can be achieved.



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