Falkirk hosting Scottish town centre conference

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Falkirk is playing host to the annual Scotland’s Towns Conference tomorrow which will focus on transforming struggling town centres for a stable economic future.

More than 200 leading representatives from town centres, government and international visitors will descend on the town to discuss ways of making town centres thrive again and attract visitors to boost local economies.

Falkirk was the first in Scotland to have a town centre management structure and one of the original five to have a Business Improvement District (BID) team.

Falkirk Council’s spokesperson for economic development, Councillor Dennis Goldie, said: “Falkirk Council’s ongoing investment across the area stems from a belief that building vibrant and sustainable town centres creates stronger local economies, attracts investment and stimulates place-making for communities.

“A commitment to develop our town centres and improve infrastructure is also ensuring that the area is a well connected and facilitated location that can host major events such as Scotland’s Towns Conference.”

Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP) is the umbrella organisation for the country’s towns and offers support for action plans and policies to help improve town centres and communities.

Visitors and speakers at the conference will include Marco Biagi, Minister for Local Government and Community Empowerment, Ross Martin, chief executive of the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) and German urbanist Cord Soehlke.

Phil Prentice, chief officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership, said: “The relationship between Scotland’s towns and our seven cities is a crucial part of our economy, let alone wider society, with each feeding off the other, their interdependence often missing from the public policy debate. Nestled amidst three of Scotland’s cities, and an exemplar of a town-transformed, Falkirk was an obvious choice as home to this major event.

“Scotland’s towns continue to define the character of much of the country, accounting for 69 per cent of Scotland’s population as well as two thirds of all jobs and businesses.”

Mr Biagi said: “We must ensure town centres are diversified to support their place at the heart of community life, offering access to facilities, affordable homes, meeting places and services that people require.

“Scotland’s Towns Conference gives us the opportunity to see the progress being made, and to look ahead towards the projects taking place that will help ensure this happens.”

The conference is being held in Falkirk Town Hall from 9am.

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