ALISON JOHNSTONE MSP: TOWN CENTRE PLANS LACK AMBITION
Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian and a member of Holyrood's economy committee, is warning that proposals from the Scottish Government aimed at boosting town centres lack ambition.
Alison has long championed the need to put local businesses first and encourage the development of town centres that are pleasant places to live, work and shop, with good access to parks and facilities.
Today's response from government includes a £2million town centre housing fund, a £120,000 fund for community consultation and making the Local Government Minister responsible for town centres.
“The Scottish Government has been under pressure for years to get a grip on our deteriorating town centres and I'm afraid the announcements made today lack the ambition required. There's still too much talk of working things out and considering pilot projects when we need to action now.
"The sums of money being set aside to help our town centres are pitiful and will not give local businesses and residents confidence. We need to see support for local champions who can get things done, not a new title for a minister in Edinburgh.
"I'm also disappointed that the government's plan has little to say about access to green spaces, and it fails to address the growing appetite for cycling. We know that walkers and cyclists spend more in high street shops than motorists so walking and cycling should come first if we're serious about sustaining town centre businesses.
"In the months ahead as parliament debates the Scottish Government's budget I will continue to press for meaningful investment in our town centres."