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Fife to receive largest grant as town centre regeneration funds announced

Dunfermline - credit Tom Parnell

Fife to receive largest grant as town centre regeneration funds announced

Fife Council is set to receive nearly £4.5m from the Scottish Government’s town centre regeneration fund, the largest grant being made to a local authority.

Details of the allocations to councils from the £50m fund were released on Friday with Aberdeenshire, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Highland and North and South Lanarkshire among the councils receiving the largest awards.

The Town Centre Fund, set up by the Scottish Government in partnership with COSLA, aims to support councils to ensure that Scotland’s high streets “are more diverse, sustainable and successful in the face of changing and evolving retail patterns”.

Councils will decide how their allocations are used, in-line with the fund’s themes.

Finance Secretary 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.”

Councillor Steven Heddle, COSLA’s Environment and Economy Spokesperson said: “Local Economic Development drives so much of the other vital things that Councils do on behalf of our Communities.  This was a message we promoted as part of our essential services campaign ahead of this year’s budget.  We were clear that inclusive growth must be supported through investment in Local Government.

“We welcome today’s announcement of investment in our towns and we will continue to work with Scottish Government on our shared priority of Inclusive Growth and growing Scotland’s Economy.”

Cllr Alasdair Rankin, The City of Edinburgh Council’s Finance and Resources Convener, said: “This is a welcome distribution which will enable us to invest in the future of our town centres.

“With over £2.6m allocated to the city, the Scottish Government funding will help Edinburgh’s local high streets to thrive. These are the vibrant hearts of our local communities, where people feel at home and can access the services they need. A successful town centre can result in more and better local amenities, independent enterprises and a boost for local people and the local economy too.”

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar also welcomed its allocation of £223k from the fund.

Cllr Donald Crichton, Chair of the Comhairle’s Sustainable Development committee, said: “This allocation under the Town Centre Fund is welcome and we will need to look closely at how to make the best use of funds and whether we can use this to lever in further funding from other sources.”

Councillor Aileen Morton, the Leader of Argyll and Bute Council, which is set to receive £1.24 million from the fund, said:

“This is great news for our local communities. We are committed to ensuring that our town centres are attractive, vibrant places for people to live, visit, invest and work.

“Today’s funding announcement will help us to achieve this aspiration, and will enable us to continue to build on the significant regeneration improvements that we have already carried out across Argyll and Bute with our partners.

“Once we receive the funding criteria from the Scottish Government we will be in a better position to determine how and where this money will be invested.”

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