We will reshape and repopulate our town centres so that they become vibrant places with mixed use spaces which maximise social, economic and environmental opportunities.
Town centres are vital for our local economies and our sense of community and place. The attractiveness and vibrancy of a town is interlinked to the success of its centre.
Community and Enterprise in Scotland’s Town Centres, the independent national review of town centres, identified three key reasons for their importance:
- They are places of creativity and enterprise which support economic growth
- Their density allows resources and services to be shared meaning that ‘shops, workplaces, leisure, culture and public services are near, and if we don’t actually live amongst them, they are still where public transport goes, and are accessible to the whole community’
- They are sustainable due to their existing infrastructure of roads, sewers, transport, parking, schools and shops
North Lanarkshire has eight established town centres, each with its own distinctive features and identities. Our area has historic towns like Airdrie and Kilsyth as well as the new town Cumbernauld. Bellshill, Coatbridge, Motherwell and Wishaw each have their own mix of cultural, leisure and retail facilities.
Shotts is the smallest of our town centres but as with our larger towns it too has an important role in both creating a sense of community place and in supporting the local economy.
Like elsewhere, our town centres have been traditionally dominated by retail. The rise of online shopping and out-of-town retail parks and centres means that retail-led town centres are in decline across Scotland and the UK. This is particularly the case in North Lanarkshire where our towns are competing with bigger centres within the region for footfall and retail spending.
Town centres need a broader foundation for success with a mix of uses supported by a resident population.
To reshape and repopulate our town centres we will:
- Develop a sense of place by protecting, repurposing or redeveloping vacant or unused priority buildings within our town centres
- Develop and deliver aspirational visions for the future for each of our town centres
- Identify and deliver transformative town centre projects with a particular focus on new residential provision
- Provide town centre hubs which support the integrated delivery of public services