Party time for a £5.5m plan that aimed to frame Falkirk’s future

A variety of improvements have taken place in and around the High Street since this picture was taken in 2009.
A variety of improvements have taken place in and around the High Street since this picture was taken in 2009.

Despite mounting concern about the slump in Falkirk’s retail amenities the Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) will be taking to the streets with a good news story on Friday and Saturday coming.

In a series of family-friendly events over both days the project will be celebrating five years of restoration and heritage activities - while reminding residents about just what has been achieved with the original £5.5million grant.

The project will literally set out its stall in the High Street on Friday at the producers market (11am to 4pm), and shoppers will be encouraged to visit a free exhibition “Falkirk: Our Changing Town” in unit 18 at The Howgate, where pictures of some of building and restoration success stories will be on display.

The sum total of these efforts cannot be claimed likely to revive Falkirk’s flagging retail fortunes on their own, but may be argued to have helped Falkirk cut a difference from less fortunate towns which don’t have the same quality of architectural heritage - and which do face the same retail problems.

Resurfaced roads and footpaths, work to the town’s iconic steeple, and - for example - on Cow Wynd and Mission Lane - are among improvement projects which THI will be able to point to as solid achievements.

Councillor David Alexander, Falkirk Council’s spokesperson for Economic Development said: “The THI has improved the economic and social success of Falkirk Town Centre by creating a high quality urban environment where people want to spend their time and money.

“The investment of more than £5m is significant at a time the economy is affecting so many retailers and their decision to remain in town centres across the country.

“We’re grateful to our funders in supporting the project but especially to the property owners and local businesses who hopefully now can see the benefits of the work that has been carried out.

“Preserving and enhancing our historic town centre has been a worthwhile venture and local residents and visitors alike will see the benefits this work can bring.”

The overall aim of the THI – funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland – has been to breathe new life into Falkirk’s historic town centre by improving its physical appearance and enhancing the things that make it special.

Saturday (August 4) will be the big day for THI in Falkirk.

You may fancy trying your hand at casting metal from a mobile foundry, or having a go at traditional signwriting.

Meanwhile Forth Environment Trust are bringing to town their Big Bike Bestival and East the Street Festival - live music, face-painting, bike stunts, magic bean trails and more will feature.