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August 11, 2020

Scotland Loves Local

Messaging seems to have played quite an effective role in shaping both public opinion and actions during the various stages of the Covid crisis. Stay Home. Protect the NHS. Stay Safe and so on. There is a danger in their overuse but as we move into the next phase, one that has caught the eye and that’s being promoted through Scotland’s Towns Partnership is Scotland Loves Local. If everyone took that message to heart, the future of our town centres would be assured. Until 21st Aug, Scottish Government is seeking other ideas to help secure our town centres.

Scottish Government

The Town Centre Expert Review Group, announced last month by Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell, has put out a call for written evidence on how to revitalise town centres in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The deadline for written evidence is Friday 21st August at 17:00. Additionally, a series of invitation-only themed oral evidence sessions will take place online week commencing 17th August 2020.

As part of its deliberations, the Town Centre Expert Review Group is inviting individuals, organisations and stakeholders to contribute through this Call for Evidence. Organisations representing or focusing on the views of individuals who normally find it difficult to engage are strongly encouraged to take part. A public survey will also run alongside the consultation process to obtain the views of local communities.


Experts from sectors including town planning, public health, transport and business are reviewing the vision for Scotland’s town centres and the means to achieve it. The review will build on the progress of the Scottish Government’s 2013 vision and subsequent Town Centre Action Plan.

The expert review group is chaired by Professor Leigh Sparks, Chair of Scotland’s Towns Partnership and Deputy Principal and Professor of Retail Studies at the University Stirling. Other members of the group include representatives from COSLA, the Royal Town Planning Institute, South of Scotland Enterprise, the Carnegie Trust, the Federation of Small Businesses, Public Health Scotland, Sustrans, Inclusion Scotland, the Development Trusts Association Scotland and the Scottish Government.

Initial high-level findings and ideas to drive the vision for Scotland’s town centres will be developed by early September. These will then be refined, and further evidence and work conducted to the end of November 2020, when the group’s report will be finalised.

The Town Centre Action Plan, published in 2013, can be accessed through the Scottish Government’s town centre regeneration page, where you will also find links to the 2013 National Review of Town Centres, as well as Year 1 and Year 2 progress reports on the Town Centre Action Plan.

Themes and Questions

The Review Group has indicated its intention to collect responses along the following broad themes:

  • Retail and Commercial
  • Climate and Sustainability
  • Planning, Access & Place Management
  • Culture and Creative
  • Housing and Property
  • Local Government and Economic Agencies
  • Communities, Wellbeing and Inclusion

The Review Group would ask that your evidence (and please state if it is an individual or an organisational response, providing details of the latter) focuses on the following questions:

  1. What are the challenges and opportunities facing town centres in Scotland and how should these be addressed?
  2. What are the barriers to developing town centres suitable for their communities and how can these be removed?
  3. To what extent has the Town Centre Action Plan (TCAP) delivered against its stated ambitions? In what areas has delivery been successful? In what areas is there room for progress and/or barriers to overcome?
  4. To what extent are the stated objectives and policy challenges TCAP seeks to address relevant for the new challenges for our towns?
  5. If TCAP were to be revised, what additional or replacement areas and objectives would you recommend should be included and how should these be addressed?
  6. Can you provide details and contacts of any examples of excellent practice in town centres which you believe have wider potential?
  7. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Guidance for Submissions

  • Please limit your submission to no more than six sides of A4
  • Please submit in a plain word document in Arial 11pt font
  • You can submit your evidence by emailing
  • The deadline for submissions is 17:00 on Friday 21st August 2020

Read more and keep up to date with the view at – Town Centre Action Plan Review Group.