Town centre regeneration has been a topic subject to dichotomies in Scottish political thinking. For every person who believes that “something should be done” to reverse the long term decay of our towns, there are others who simply accept that the decline is either inevitable or even hold it to be a positive thing. Common Weal rejects this latter view especially as the pandemic and lockdown has demonstrated just how vital local community is in times of crisis.
In this Consultation Response we provide short summary of our work, particularly our Resilience programme, as it pertains to the restructuring of our town centres to adapt to the post-Covid world.Credits—
Craig DalzellDownload Now
Common Weal has been at the forefront of progressive thinking in Scotland and has produced an extensive library of policy covering almost all areas Scottish politics. This includes so far the world’s only fully costed national plan for a Green New Deal and a comprehensive post-Covid economic recovery plan that would lead seamlessly into that Green New Deal. Further, our work on reform of local democratic structures and advocacy for local/community responses to economic and social challenges4 gives us insight not only on how these policies operate at national level but also, most importantly, how they apply at local levels such as town centres.
Town centre regeneration has been a topic subject to polarised opinion in Scottish political thinking. While many believes that ‘something should be done’ to reverse the long term decay of our towns, there are others who simply accept that the decline is either inevitable or even hold it to be a positive thing. Common Weal emphatically rejects this latter view especially as the pandemic and lockdown has demonstrated just how vital local community is in times of crisis.
The following shall contain a short summary of our work, particularly our Resilience programme, as it pertains to the restructuring of our town centres to adapt to the post-Covid world.
― The Covid Pandemic has radically changed many of our work and life patterns. Cities in particular have been affected by a reduction in footfall.
― Town and Community Centres must place themselves ready to become a locus of community cohesion and participation.
― Towns and cities will have to reckon with the overvaluation of commercial properties such as offices no longer required due to home working.
― They should institute a “Use it or Lose it” policy whereby owners of these buildings must put it into productive use or face a Compulsory Sales/Purchase Order that would allow communities to take over stranded assets and put them to the best social use.
― The challenge of retrofitting houses to Green New Deal standards is likely to dominate much of the construction sector in the coming years but less has been said about commercial properties. Town centre planning strategies must address this gap especially as commercial properties often require much more heating per square metre of floor space than a typical house.
― Common Weal’s Resilient Scotland plan covers many of the issues raised by this consultation and should be considered for use as a starting point for town centre action plan strategies.