The Scottish Government’s Town Centre Action Plan (TCAP) recognises the potentially important role which communities can play within town centre regeneration. This builds on the prioritisation of community-led regeneration within Achieving a Sustainable Future, the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Strategy.
The TCAP is premised on a number of assumptions about what needs to happen to regenerate high streets in Scotland. These include re-thinking, or re-inventing high streets and town centres. While there are a number of aspects to this, it will necessarily involve recognising the changing dynamics of retail, and strengthening the social, civic and cultural use of high streets in ways which support existing (and hopefully new) retail and other businesses. This will require stimulating, encouraging and supporting imaginative and creative thinking leading to new approaches and new partnerships. In revitalising high streets and town centres, there is also a need to consider ‘ownership’ of the high street. Increasing local people’s sense of ownership of their high street has the potential to be a critical success factor in future levels of use, and ultimately, therefore, sustainability. Empowered communities have a key contribution to make in all these areas of activity.
Renfrew Development Trust have received support from TCAP to help regenerate Renfrew Town Centre as part of a pilot project to see what impact a community led development trust can have in being a catalyst for this regeneration activity.