Town centre action plan a ‘re-hash’ claims Lamont

The action plan is aiming to revitalise ailing town centres
The action plan is aiming to revitalise ailing town centres

JOHN LAMONT has criticised the SNP’s town centre action plan, claiming it is a ‘re-hash’ of previous announcements and has called for a regeneration fund with ‘real bite’.

Mr Lamont said: “The last few years have been very tough for some of the town centres in the Borders, with many of them seeing a drop in footfall and several shops closing down.

“We need to be doing all we can to rejuvenate them and that is why I was so supportive of the town centre regeneration fund, which the SNP chose to abolish.

“The measures announced by the SNP in this action plan are nothing but a re-hash of previous announcements. There is nothing new in this report and with little money being put up, it is doubtful if it will provide any meaningful help to our high streets.”

The plan has also brought criticism from the Federation of Small Businesses, with Scottish policy convenor Andy Willox calling for the Scottish Government, local authorities and the public sector to work together with businesses to ‘develop prosperous town centres’.

The SNP plan includes proposals to increase housing in town centres, including bringing empty properties back into use as affordable housing.

Powers for local councils to create town centre investment zones are also proposed.