Carnegie UK Trust signs ‘Town Centre First Principle’

Martyn Evans and Kevin Stewart
Kevin Stewart MSP (left) with Carnegie UK chief executive Martyn Evans

The Carnegie UK Trust has become the first charitable organisation to sign up to a voluntary code which calls on signatories to make decisions that add to the vibrancy of town centres.

The Scottish Government and COSLA Town Centre First Principle is about encouraging open and transparent decision working that takes account of medium to longer term impacts on town centres and the communities they serve.

At the signing of the Principle in historic Pittencrieff Park, Carnegie UK chief executive Martyn Evans, said: “Carnegie UK works to promote wellbeing in town communities across the country. In recent years, our TestTown programme has helped young entrepreneurs set up businesses in towns, our leadership on Understanding Scottish Places has helped build the UK’s first open data platform for towns, and our research on Pride in Place has demonstrated the link between individual wellbeing and high quality public space.

“The trust understands that helping towns to be more innovative, to focus on strong local leadership and community engagement, and to use good evidence in decision making are all key factors of reversing the decline some of them have faced over the last decade. That’s why we have committed to our five year ‘Flourishing Towns’ programme of investment and work through to 2020.

“We are delighted to sign up to the principle and become the first organisation from our sector to do so.”

Minister for local government and housing Kevin Stewart MSP, who made a visit to Dunfermline when the pledge was signed, added: “We want to see towns across Scotland flourish, providing a base for people to live, work, socialise and do business.

“The Town Centre First Principle is about promoting investment and improving town centres by encouraging businesses and charities like Carnegie UK to take a joint approach to planning, delivering services and supporting towns. That means committing to continuing their Flourish Towns programme until 2020, giving local businesses support and investment.

“I’m delighted Carnegie UK is pledging to support local communities by signing up to the Principle.”

Cllr Stephen Hagan, COSLA spokesperson for development, economy and sustainability, added: “I am pleased that our partners at Carnegie UK have taken the decision to sign up to the Town Centre First Principle jointly developed by COSLA and Scottish Government.

“This commitment highlights that town centre regeneration remains a priority not just for local authorities and Scottish Government, but also for other partners and stakeholders such as Carnegie UK with an interest in town centres and wider regeneration activity across Scotland.

“Given the importance of town centres to local communities across Scotland, we hope that the Town Centre First Principle is the first step in helping to ensure the viability of Scotland’s town centres going forward, and that other partners will now also consider adopting the principle.”

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