While the ambition for all of our town centres is to move towards a more mixed-use offering to improve resilience and recognize the shift in how we use our town centres, we want to retain and support the retail sector and assist its recovery from the double impacts of an economic downturn and the Covid Pandemic.
We will identify a core area where we will seek to retain retailing and encourage traders from more marginal areas to relocate to these over time through potential grant assistance.
Town centre living
Encouraging more people to live in town centres is a key policy aspiration for the council, underpinning more successful towns.
More people living in town centres means more support for local businesses. It means keeping bus routes active. It means a safer environment thanks to passive policing. These all make a town more attractive to visitors which in turn means more benefits to the local economy.
We are developing pilot projects to promote town centre living on vacant sites at the former Methodist Church on Caledonian Road, on former offices at Graham Street and the demolition and redevelopment of the Anvil Block on Main Street to build on the work undertaken by local housing associations at the former Tesco and Market Square.
These demonstrator projects will hopefully kick start the private sector into investing in the wider town centre outwith the core retail area.
Movement and Active Travel
The connection between the town centre and significant developments such as the Town Hub and major education and leisure assets will be promoted through the introduction of walking and cycling routes.
We will continue to work with public transport providers to secure the retention of vital bus services to ensure that people can move to and from the town centre.
Built heritage and place
We will secure our heritage assets for the future by repurposing them towards sustainable uses such as housing and community use. We will also work with the private sector to protect and enhance buildings of character within town centres to encourage a sense of place.
Transition to net zero
We will ensure that all new build developments comply with the latest building regulations which seek to enhance the energy efficiency of buildings and reduce waste.
We will also investigate the potential for grant assistance to allow owner-occupiers to insulate their properties and introduce non-carbon heating systems.
The shift away from carbon-based fuels to electronic vehicles will be supported by the rollout of additional EV charging points throughout our town centre car parks and at public facilities.