Levers for Green Recovery and Economic Recovery Online shopping is a threat to city centres. We need to think of what we can do to make our town centres more vibrant.
Think good to consider the shape of our town centres, but this shouldn't necessarily be about returning to such a centralised model. I'm a big fan of the idea of the "15 minute city": https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20201214-how-15-minute-cities-will-change-the-way-we-socialise
Locally, Dumfries town centre is asking local people what would they like to see happen to their town centre, i.e. what should replace empty shops e.g. art therapy, local craft spaces rather than shops to rent etc. Engaging local people means they will support what comes in a new future. Local councils need to take cognisance of how old rules of what can or can't be allowed in town centres as businesses have dropped off the economy and closures of huge premises dominate town and city centres.
One 'easy' way to reinvigorate city/town centres is to cease giving planning permission for out-of-town shopping centres. This would encourage take-up of retail space in city & town centres, cut car use & maintain the vibrancy of our towns & cities. We can also look to use the forthcoming office block vacancies to look at mixed residential use - Shelter Scotland already have a successful 'Homes above shops' project running.
I've been reading a lot about Dumfries as a model of what can be done by a local community. Likewise here in Leith, Save Leith Walk now has the right to buy a block of shops and offices but this is predicated upon the developer's willingness to sell. The developer can hold on to the boarded up shops until they degrade & are demolished which is what they wanted to do in the first place. There needs to be a legal mechanism for communities to force the sale of derelict/empty properties.
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