Brechin recently secured Town Centre Regeneration funding (TCRF) from the Scottish Government. As widely reported, Brechin has secured £1.8m for plans to improve the High Street.
Brechin’s success is great news for the town and could not come at a more crucial time for Brechin. Visiting the High Street, and seeing how many shops have closed in recent years, it is a worry that Brechin could lose its heart. Thankfully, these funds can help Brechin secure its own future.
The loss of Woolworths was a big blow for Brechin. Winning this funding will help Brechin attract businesses back to the High Street. In particular it is an opportunity for the Council to make the most of its Buy Local campaign, keeping the High Street’s individual character and supporting local suppliers.
Loss of High Street services hits young people particularly hard as they do not have access to transport to take them to out-of-town shops and amenities. I would support calls by local young people to take the opportunity to provide them with activities in the town centre. It is crucial that towns ensure there is plenty for young people to do, and places for them to go.
There is concern that the requirement that all TCRF money needs to be spent by March 2010 is too strict. I sincerely hope that the Scottish Government will be flexible about time scales for spending these grants.
Hopefully the SNP will not politicise this unique opportunity to halt the decline of our High Streets. And, in particular, that should let Brechin complete its redevelopment in the most sustainable, long term way.