Falkirk is to gain nearly £2m from a £50m national grants scheme designed to help breathe new life into Scotland’s depleted town centres.
The Town Centre Fund will be allocated locally by Falkirk Counci in accordance with an action plan which could see empty shops reopened for housing, retail or community enterprises.
The fund, set up in partnership with COSLA,aims to drive local economic growth by providing cash for projects to “repurpose” town centre buildings for retail, business and community enterprise and to improve access and infrastructure.
The move comes against a background of store closures and growing concern about the state of many high streets across Scotland.
The fund was announced by Finance Secretary Derek Mackay in December and the Scottish Government has now confirmed Falkirk Council’s share will be £1.976million.
Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson said: “The health of our town centres is vital to the economic and cultural life of our communities and this significant new investment will make a real difference.
“I’m confident that our council administration will make the most of this funding to ensure that towns across Falkirk district reap the benefits.
“The Town Centre Fund is just one part of a wider package of business support measures in the Scottish Government’s budget that will help drive economic activity and give our local high streets a welcome boost.”
Derek Mackay said: “Town centres are facing challenges across Scotland in adapting to a changing retail climate, and it is important that we help them to diversify and adjust to overcome these challenges.
“I want to make sure we can keep life in our high streets, and ensure they continue to be thriving places for communities to live, work and enjoy.
“This £50 million fund will enable local authorities to stimulate and support a wide range of investments which will encourage town centres to diversify and flourish, and create an increase in footfall through local improvements and partnerships”.