Falkirk’s town centres are ‘ahead of the curve’ for economic growth

Phil Prentice, chief officer Scotland Towns Partnership, Alex Fleming, Falkirk Delivers Margaret McCulloch MSP, Jacquie McArthur and Eddie Linton-Smith, project manager Falkirk Delivers during the Falkirk visit
Phil Prentice, chief officer Scotland Towns Partnership, Alex Fleming, Falkirk Delivers Margaret McCulloch MSP, Jacquie McArthur and Eddie Linton-Smith, project manager Falkirk Delivers during the Falkirk visit

An MSP who took a walkabout and a bus tour of Falkirk district says the area is “ahead of the curve” for future economic growth.

Despite a high number of shop closures in the area – most recently the WH Smith stores in Falkirk and Grangemouth – Central Scotland Labour MSP Margaret McCulloch, who also convenes Holyrood’s Cross Party Group on Towns and Town Centres – believes the regeneration and growth of the district is “encouraging” after meeting local business leaders following a ride on the Loop bus service then touring Stenhousemuir and Denny.

Mrs McCulloch spoke with business owners and said the town can bounce back from large firms moving out.

The MSP said: “Retail is changing and town centre managers everywhere are having to be imaginative in deciding what can replace those empty units. Falkirk is ahead of the curve. The town centre is diverse and it has character and that’s something to build on for the future.

“There are some really unique businesses in Falkirk and the wider district and their distinctiveness adds something special to the local economy.”

Manager of Falkirk Delivers Alex Fleming said: “Nationally, bigger retailers are re-trenching, scaling down, and this is happening when their leases on buildings are expiring so it’s not just because town centres aren’t doing well.

“We are looking at ways to fill these big spaces and they may not be just for retail any more, they could be used for leisure and we have to make sure projects are in place when companies are looking for space to go next.”