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The University of the West of Scotland has transformed Ayr, writes Ken Mann

Few towns in Scotland can boast a fresh investment of £81 million in higher education facilities. In Ayr, University of the West of Scotland (UWS) is the institution responsible for just that.

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The Scottish Government and its partners appreciate role of towns. By Alex Neil MSP

Town centres are at the heart of Scotland's economic and social fabric. They offer opportunities for local businesses to thrive, create jobs and strengthen the area's economy.

The Scottish Government is doing all it can to ensure town centres can take advantage of these benefits by helping them to be functioning, well maintained places that support the needs of residents, businesses and visitors.

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Positive people drive recovery, says Dr Robert Crawford

I recently attended a conference on innovation co-sponsored by the Economic Development Association Scotland (EDAS) and the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) - probably the UK's leading think-tank on innovation. Featuring a host of inspiring speakers from home and abroad, the conference considered the key drivers of innovation. NESTA has researched the most appropriate policy responses and in doing so has investigated the approaches taken by many countries. It found that "no one approach fits all". But there are certain categories of behaviour that seem to be universal for innovation to flourish.

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The vital signs are good as Ayr looks forward to a wealthier future. Ken Mann takes the town's pulse.

Location on an idyllic coastline in Burns Country does not automatically resonate with connectivity to the commercial front line. But as the County Town, Ayr has taken its leadership role seriously.

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Some 800 years after its formation in the 13th century by King William the Lion, Ayr is undergoing a wide-ranging and energetic transformation. While this includes, of course, a raft of enterprising initiatives aimed at rejuvenating and sustaining the town as a business centre, it's also underpinned by a determination to capitalise on the town's inspiring historical and cultural legacy.

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With comparatively healthy numbers of residents and jobs, a move to attract new people and businesses back to the town centre is sure to revitalise historic Ayr, writes Dominic Ryan

Ask anyone who does not live there to think about Ayr. The chances are they will immediately conjure up images of rolling farmland, sandy beaches and rocky cliffs. They may even mention several magnificent castles or renowned golf courses - yes, there really are that many to choose from.

The truth is, for many, the town of Ayr will always be considered in the wider context of Ayrshire and its beautiful west coast vistas.

And there is more virtue than vice, for the town has always been and will always be a direct product of its environment.

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Street events, heritage trails and flower baskets are among the ideas being lined up to revive the West End as it continues its recovery from tram works.

The pledge comes after traders voted in favour of creating a Business Improvement District (BID) in a ballot which closed last week.

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Stirling Council has announced plans to transform the face of the city with a new £200 million regeneration plan.

The council said yesterday the plans could make Stirling an “economic and cultural powerhouse”, allowing it to “compete” with Scotland’s other cities.

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All the latest news from Creative Scotland including Creative Place Award Winners, cast your vote for Glasgow 2014 Cultural programme and information about the Open Project funding from April-May.

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The Scottish Government’s 2013 Town Centre Action Plan was developed as a “stimulus to encourage and support action across the wider public, private and community sectors” with a view to addressing issues faced by Scotland’s towns. The Scottish Government, Scotland’s Towns Partnership, RTPI Scotland, Architecture + Design Scotland, PAS, SURF and others are keen to support the ambitions of the Action Plan and the revitalisation of town centres as a mechanism to tackle wider physical, social and economic challenges in urban Scotland.

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An infographic from the Federation of Small Businesses - Small Business Index Scotland Q2

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STP Funding Workshop 

STP along with key funding partners are set for another great Funding Workshop.  This time taking place in Edinburgh on 16th September 2015, the workshop looks to inspire and give confidence to attendees to apply for funding and make their project a reality! Jean Robertson, SLOG will present on the funding support available through your local authority, funding expert Michael McKernan, East Renfrewshire Council will look to inform and inspire with our funding partners providing top tips and forthcoming opportunities. 

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The approval by the Scottish Parliament of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill this week presents a great opportunity for communities to shape their future and the places where they live and work.

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A brand new £200,000 events fund created to develop activity to celebrate Scotland's achievements in innovation, architecture and design is now open and we are welcoming applications from the events and festivals sector across Scotland for grants of up to £20,000. 

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The time is right for further improvements to the nation’s planning system, Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil will underline at a planning conference in Edinburgh tomorrow

10 years since planning reform began with the publication of a white paper, Mr Neil will soon announce plans to consult on further reforms to the planning system.

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