Preserve past and look to future

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Falkirk town centre is to get another £1.6 million investment to help preserve its past and promote future economic growth.

The cash was awarded by Historic Scotland to Falkirk Council on Tuesday as part of its Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme, which sees the town receive the highest grant out of 12 areas across Scotland.

The money will be used to bring vacant properties back into use, fund improvements to shop fronts that reflect Falkirk’s heritage, restore architectural details and repair buildings.

Improvements will also be made to a number of streets off the High Street and training opportunities for independent traders will be funded.

Councillor Dennis Goldie, the council’s convenor of economic strategy and development, welcomed the cash injection.

He said: “It is particularly welcome at a time when town centres across the country are hard pressed and is testament to the excellent partnership between the council, Falkirk BID and local retailers to promote the town centre.

“This funding announced by the Scottish Government will help us to concentrate our efforts on key areas that will enhance our built environment as well as boost retail opportunities.

“We have a great ambition for the town centre that will improve local use and a better experience for visitors alike. This can ultimately make our businesses more profitable and attract more visitors to the area.”

The cash will support grants to businesses, tenants, residential owners and properties within the new Falkirk Townscape Heritage Initiative area to improve a number of historic town centre buildings.

The investment follows a £2m grant for the town centre that was awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund in May last year.

Mr Goldie added: “We look forward to working with local business owners, landlords, residents and other interested groups that all want to see the very best for our town centre.”

Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said: “Our historic environment plays a key role in communities and this funding provides an opportunity to invest back into the historic fabric and back into the heart of communities.”