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Join THE largest gathering for and with Scotland's Towns on 18 November in Falkirk's Town Hall. 

An exciting programme has been developed with a great mix of interactive, panel and fringe sessions, inspirational speakers and celebratory films.  

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The Connecting MSPs to Scotland’s Towns Campaign took place during recess this year to encourage MSPs to go into their town centre for the day and to raise the profile of our towns, to MSPs.  Thank you to those who shared their town centre visit with us and thank you for supporting Scotland’s towns.

 

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The forum, held in Falkirk on Monday 19th October, examined how towns could contribute to a fairer Scotland in the context of the Scottish Government’s National Conversation on the issue. 

Hosted by the Centre for Scottish Public Policy (CSPP) and supported by Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP) and the Voluntary Action Fund (VAF), the discussion forum brought together individuals representing local authorities, public sector and cultural institutions, community development trusts, business improvement districts, community councils, and others.

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The regeneration of Barrhead and Neilston was in the spotlight at a conference in Brussels discussing town centre developments across the continent. And the proposal to create a business improvement district (BID) was described as a positive development following on from key improvements in the town over recent years.

Gillian McNamara, principal projects and programmes officer with East Renfrewshire Council, shared the story of Barrhead’s and Neilston’s transition with representatives of other EU countries.

The meeting was one of many taking place in the Belgian capital as part of the 13th European Week of Regions and Cities — a three-day conference, hosted by the Committee of the Regions (CoR).

The various debates taking place at several venues focused on all manner of issues relating to local and regional governments.

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Kier Construction has completed the development of a new building at Sandbank Business Park in Dunoon.

Developed in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), the 724 square metre development is designed to attract new businesses to the area and enable local businesses to achieve their ambitions for growth.

HIE chairman Lorne Crerar and chief executive Alex Paterson recently marked the formal handover of a new facility.

Douglas Cowan, HIE area manager for Argyll and the Islands, said: “Dunoon is one of Argyll’s key towns and its economic success is vital to the wider Cowal area. The town’s proximity to the central belt presents a major opportunity. Availability of competitively located, affordable and digitally enabled office accommodation is essential in order to capitalise on this opportunity.

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A cut to business rates seems like heaven sent legislation for a struggling Kirkcaldy town centre, but reactions to the new powers given to local council’s to do just that, have been mixed.

The Scottish Government announced on Friday that local authorities will be able to lower rates bills for businesses in their area from October 31.

The order, which uses powers under the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 passed in June this year, means councils will be able to reduce rates based on criteria they choose, such as the type of property, its location, occupation or activity.

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SHOPPERS have been flocking to Scotland's stores after the Indian Summer gave the high street a welcome boost.

Retailers welcomed a new report which shows that September was the best month since February this year - excluding Easter - for footfall, the number of people going into stores.

Despite a 0.8 per cent drop on the same month last year, the figures have been described as "relatively pleasing" by industry experts, while retail outlets claimed they have experienced strong trading.

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Five projects to restore and reuse historic buildings across Scotland for community facilities have been awarded £1.7 million in funding.

Newly formed lead public body for heritage Historic Environment Scotland has announced the funds as part of its Building Repair Grants Scheme.

Among the recipients announced is the Edwardian Govan Hill Baths in Glasgow, which is to be refurbished in a phased scheme to facilitate full community usage for three pools, a steamie and Turkish Baths suite. That project received an award of £500,000 to pay for repairs to halt water ingress and refurbish the interior of the building.

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West Kilbride needs your votes in the national competition to find Britain’s best high street.

Two weeks into the six-week public voting period, a rankings release by the Great British High Street Competition has revealed that in the Village category, West Kilbride high street is riding high in first place.

But with four weeks to go until voting closes, that could all change.

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Fibe broadband has been rolled out in Selkirk – with the help of secret knitters The Souter Stormers who rose to fame by yarn-storming the town.

Almost 3,400 homes and businesses in the town are now able to connect thanks to the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme.

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Kilmarnock is set to go head-to-head with Irvine for the title of Scotland’s ‘most improved large town’ after being shortlisted for a major award.

The two Ayrshire towns found out last week they were shortlisted in the category as part of Scotland’s Independent Regeneration Network.

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A historic area of Edinburgh's Old Town, which was restored following decades of neglect, has been named best development in Britain.

Advocate's Close won national Project of the Year at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) awards.

The development saw nine listed buildings transformed into commercial, office and residential spaces.

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A group of knitters has helped welcome the arrival of fibre broadband in a Scottish Borders town.

Around 3,400 homes and businesses in Selkirk are now able to access faster internet speeds thanks to the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband rollout.

The premises in Selkirk join more than 17,500 in the Scottish Borders able to access fibre broadband.

Across Scotland, more than 438,000 homes and businesses have been connected by the Digital Scotland programme.

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The Crieff Succeeds Business Improvement District has launched two grant schemes worth £158,000 to local event organisers and local businesses.

The grant schemes are the first initiatives to come forward from the BID Business Plan that was overwhelmingly voted through in June.

The Crieff BID will allocate £80,000 to support local events and festivals. Organisers will be able to apply to the new Crieff Succeeds BID Events Grant Scheme. The awards will look to support local event organisers cover costs such as; event management, insurance, promotion, website development, equipment hire or feasibility studies for new events. The scheme is open to organisers of both existing and new events.

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Context: Fundamentally, Scotland is a nation of towns. Towns and villages account for 69% of our population as well as two thirds of all our jobs and businesses. Our towns are a living legacy of our history and culture, they provide us with a sense of pride and identity, define who we are, and most importantly, town life gives us access to one another through shared spaces and experiences.

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