MSP Connector Programme 2017: Connecting MSPs with Scotland's Towns

For the third year running, Scotland's Towns Partnership and the Cross Party Group for Towns and Town Centres are encouraging MSPs to take the opportunity during recess (1st July – 3rd September) to spend time in their local town. 

We are also seeking interest from town centre managers, community groups, local business organisations and other town stakeholders to host an MSP for the day in their town.

MSPs are welcome to take part by spending a day in their local area, connecting and sharing with local businesses and the community. We want to raise the profile of our towns to MSPs and this is an important campaign to celebrate and raise awareness of the opportunities and barriers our towns face. Scotland's cities and small and rural towns and settlements are also welcome to take part. 

John Scott MSP, Convenor of the Cross Party Group on Towns and Town Centres, encouraged MSPs to get involved in this year’s programme, stating:

“The majority of Scotland’s population lives in towns and smaller settlements. Vibrant towns are key to the prosperity and wellbeing of communities across the country, with each town having its own unique identity and history which should be recognised and celebrated.

I welcome the MSP Connector Programme as a positive initiative to raise the profile of our towns. I encourage MSPs to visit their local towns this recess in order to connect with local communities, to learn about current challenges and successes, and to discover all our towns and town centres have to offer”.

STP will invite MSPs to take part in a visit and for towns and business to host their MSP. The visit may include a walk around, presentation, lunch, work experience or something a little more creative! We are looking for lots of tweets, photos and highlights from the visits to help us raise the profile of Scotland’s towns.

By sharing your experiences with STP, we can disseminate these with the wider towns’ network and add to best practice examples for all to access. An online Storify report will summarise highlights from all of the visits!

STP along with the Cross Party Group on Towns and Town Centres are therefore keen to hear about the activity taking place in towns across Scotland and we would be delighted if you’d like to take part.

Join the discussion on Twitter @ScotlandsTowns #MSPTownTime.

To take part either as an MSP or a host, please register your interest with Alison Jones via · 07747 772712.

To provide us with the necessary information and help with the organisation of your visit, please download our campaign toolkit here.  

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Barriers to Community Engagement in Planning

Organised by Built Environment Forum Scotland.

Community engagement in the Scottish planning process is of interest across BEFS Membership, to both civic and professional groups. As part of the review of the Scottish planning system the Scottish Government commissioned research into barriers to community engagement in the planning system which was undertaken by Yellow Book, supported by SCDC and Nick Wright Planning. BEFS has invited two members of the team, John Lord of Yellow Book and Nick Wright to share their findings and recommendations followed by a discussion with the audience. We have also invited officials from the Scottish Government’s Planning & Architecture Division.

Everyone is welcome to attend and it will be of particular interest to those anticipating the publication of a Scottish Planning Bill in late 2017.

Can the conundrum of making the planning system more efficient and more engaging be solved?

Booking via Eventbrite

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Sustainable Building 2017

Sustainable Building 2017: creating homes and communities for the future

September 6th 2017, Saracen House, Glasgow


Scotland's Towns Partnership Chief Officer Phil Prentice is speaking at this event. In addition, STP members can benefit from a discounted rate of attendance of £75+VAT. Please contact to receive a discount booking code. 

Sustainability is a crucial factor within the modern construction process and the creation of new homes and communities as we as the infrastructure that serves them. This reflects a wider cultural prioritisation of low carbon, environmentally responsible credentials. Given the size and scale of construction activity within the housing and social housing sectors recently and over the coming years, improvements in this area can have a dramatic impact on social and environmental objectives. This has also driven the demand for the new communities and the thousands of new homes which have been promised to be delivered to a higher standard with contractors expected to add social, economic and environmental value and sustainability.

 This conference will not only consider the incorporation of sustainable principles within the construction processes of new buildings and the retrofitting of existing stock, from changes in public policy to the evolution and innovation in design, the development of new materials, the creation of jobs and apprenticeships within these new communities but it will also examine the progress made towards reaching Scotland’s ambitious housing targets and what needs to be done to ensure these are met. Following on from last year’s conference, this event will bring together thought leaders from across Scotland and beyond to discuss the modernisation of construction practices, and explore how innovative solutions can be used to improve sustainability and deliver lasting value. The conference will also present a unique forum for knowledge exchange, open discussion and cross-sector engagement.


Event Agenda


9:20 Opening address from the Chair

9:30 Session 1: Strategies for New and Existing Communities

Current Progress, Housing Targets and Upcoming developments

Are we making the most of existing stock and retrofitting

Town Centre Living – Phil Prentice, Scotland’s Towns Partnership

Creating Better Communities


11:00 Break

11:15 Session 2: New technologies and innovations for sustainable building

Innovation in sustainable communities and place making – Craig McLaren, RTPI Scotland

Design and innovation case study – Diarmaid Lawlor, A+DS

People and places; creating a liveable place

Building technology case study – Kingspan Representative


12:45 Lunch

13:45 Session 3: Preparing for the future and creating environmental, social and economic sustainability through the supply chain

Are we achieving our environmental and social KPIs?

Creating a Future Ready Workforce

Construction industry sustainability and supply chain case study


15:15 Closing remarks from The Chair

15:30 Close

There are a limited number of discounted 'early bird' places available for just £89+VAT which will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis, so we do recommend booking early to avoid dissapointment. To book your place click on the button below or visit

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Institute of Place Management: 4th International Biennial Conference

Institute of Place Management: 4th International Biennial Conference

7th – 8th September 2017, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester UK

Conference Chairs: Dr Ares Kalandides, Dr Steve Millington and Professor Cathy Parker

The repercussions of the 2008 global financial crisis continue to reverberate across the world, presenting major challenges to local development.  In many places, after decades of regeneration, the money has simply run out. This is an era of austerity, but one where responsibility for prosperity (or failure) is being devolved and localised through current political agendas.  This coincides with calls to take back control, both in the UK and USA. However, the local capacity to transform places, to tackle serious issues such as income inequality and climate change is severely over-estimated, and brings into question the future of the current economic development mantra, inclusive growth.

Despite these broad economic and political uncertainties, places continue to evolve.  In the absence of public or private funding there is a greater emphasis on communities to self-organise, through ordinary and neighbourhood placemaking.  The stories of how people in places support the arts, the local heritage, the vulnerable, the young and the old can be an inspirational example of creativity and compassion. Nevertheless, the organisers of food banks, free after-school clubs, community litter-picks, and all the other people who attend neighbourhood gardens, produce local festivals and events, are under-resourced, under-supported, and under-valued. 

In this context, we want to understand more about placemaking as a participatory and inclusive practice, which connects individuals into networks of place-based action and results in the context of austerity, devolution, and local responsibility.  We are also interested in moving beyond the silos of academics disciplines or professional interventions, to consider the connection between business, community and policy. 

More information:

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The Herald Property Awards for Scotland 2017
The Herald Property Awards for Scotland honours the achievements of Scotland’s most innovative and successful house builders, developers and registered social landlords.

Since their inception in 2007, the awards have gained the respect and support of the new build industry as a result of the thorough judging process, and the high calibre awards evening which celebrates the winners and nominees in a range of categories.

As publisher of Scotland’s most comprehensive property guide, Scotland’s Homes, The Herald has a unique understanding of the new build market and there is a wide range of categories to ensure that all styles of properties and developments are recognised, from bespoke luxury homes to innovative social housing developments, from practical family homes to sympathetic renovations.

The award for Best Regeneration Project will be sponsored by Scotland’s Towns Partnership. On the launch of the HPAs 2017,  Phil Prentice, STP Chief Officer, said: “Scotland is a nation of towns and our future social and economic success will depend heavily on how we invest, nurture, innovate, support, repurpose and regenerate our towns. Scotland’s Towns Partnership is pleased to be working with The Herald again in 2017 to showcase the best regeneration projects taking place across the country.”

“There is so much regeneration progress being made across Scotland's towns and cities. Places like Inverness, Paisley and Dundee are reinventing their role and function using creativity, digital, life science’s and energy as new 21st century drivers. This event highlights the best of these regeneration projects and encourages others to follow suit.”

Deadline for entries is Thursday, June 1, 2017.

For more information on how to enter the 2017 awards please contact Claire Hunter on 0141 302 7319 or email

This years black tie awards evening, bringing together figures from across the house building and development industry will take place on Thursday, September 21, 2017 at the DoubleTree by Hilton, Glasgow.

@HeraldEvents  #propertyawards

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Planning in Scotland: Delivering a 360 Degree Planning System

Organised by MacKay Hannah.

This conference discusses the Scottish Government's plans to legislate to develop a Scottish planning system which is more strategic and enabling, better networked into other policy areas, rooted in consensual and engaged development planning and more collaborative in its structure, working and funding both internally and externally. In other words, how do we achieve the 360˚ Planning System Scotland needs?

Some of the conference themes to be explored include:

  • Purpose and Practice in Planning
  • Understanding the White Paper
  • Process and delivery - what works?
  • Getting system scale - balancing big-enough-to-matter with small enough for hands-on
  • Achieving the delicate balance of working protectively and proactively
  • Planning and its relationship with other policy areas
  • Planning structures, agencies and powers
  • Aggregating investment and structures 

View agenda, speakers and more information at the MacKay Hannah website. 


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Scotland's Towns Conference 2017

Visit the Scotland's Towns Conference 2017 web page

We are delighted to announce that Scotland's Towns Conference 2017 will be held on Tuesday 21 November, with Scotland's Towns Week running from 20 - 26 November. 

STC 17 will take place in Paisley Town Hall, and is being held in partnership with Renfrewshire Council and Paisley 2021. 

Further details will be announced, however we encourage you to save the date for the annual gathering for all those who support Scotland's towns.

@Scotlandstowns #STC17

Paisley 2021

Paisley's bid for UK City of Culture 2021 will use the town's unique and fascinating story to transform its future—by putting the town in the international spotlight, attracting visitors, creating jobs and using culture to make people's lives better.

The one-time global textile hub and birthplace of the Paisley Pattern is also home to stunning architecture, an internationally-significant museum collection, Glasgow Airport, University of the West of Scotland, West College Scotland, PACE Theatre Company and a thriving contemporary cultural scene.

The UK City of Culture competition is run by the UK Government. The shortlisted cities will be announced in summer 2017, and the winner at the end of the year. Find out more about our story at 

@Paisley2021 #Paisley2021

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Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday UK is a grassroots, non-commercial campaign, which highlights small business success and encourages consumers to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses in their communities.

The day itself takes place on the first Saturday in December each year, but the campaign aims to have a lasting impact on small businesses. In 2017 Small Business Saturday will take place on Saturday, December 2nd.

We want all kinds of small businesses to get involved, so know that whether you are a family business, local shop, online business, wholesaler, business service or small manufacturer, Small Business Saturday is supporting you! For all the ways you can get involved, check out the links below.

Want to support your local small businesses as a local authority? Show your support for Small Business Saturday and encourage others to get involved! For all the ways you can get involved, check out the links below:

Are you a trade body, membership organisation, BID or local business network? Show your support for Small Business Saturday and encourage others to get involved! For all the ways you can get involved, check out the links below:

Read more here. 


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Sponsored By …Connecting Scotland's Towns