Scottish Government dishes out pocket money for central belt town centres

And there is nothing for Rothesay – which must be the most appalling mess of an unable town centre in the country – not that the level of disbursements from a paltry fund of £2.78 million for the whole of Scotland could do more than tart up the facade of a single town centre.

The fund was announced as recently as November by Local Government Minister, Derek Mackay. It was then £2 million but has been increased to £2.75 million – to allow more town centres to be included.

It is not a town centre regeneration fund as such either, It is a town centre housing fund/

This cannot address the problems of the functi0n of town centres today. It can only – by planting people in now run down town centre buildings – with the wretchedly small sums available -  make our town centres indistinguishable from the formless and graceless suburban precincts that surround them.

The town centre in Rothesay in Bute has been in urgent need of serious revision for longer than any responsible local government can defend. It is significantly in the worst state of Argyll’s five bigger towns, with Dunoon and Helensburgh tied in second place.

Rothesay is as close to irrecoverable as one would wish to see.

While pennies from this piddling and wrong-headed fund would make no difference to it – the startling issue is that it has not even registered on the Scottish Government’s ‘need’ radar.

Has it’s own Council been pressing its case? The Chair of the Bute and Cowal Area Committee is a Bute councillor. Is this crisis situation on the Area Committee’s agenda?

For information, the £2.78 million Town Centre Housing Fund has made the following disbursements:

  • Clackmananshire Council: £782,000 – to create 17 homes in Alva [or £46,000 per home].
  • Fife Council: £764,000 – to create 18 homes in Cupar [or £42,222 per home]
  • Angus Council: £200,00 – for an unspecified number of homes in Carnoustie High Street.
  • East Dunbartonshire Council: £200,000 – for 6 homes in Townhead, Kirkintilloch [or £33,333 per home].

Other disbursements have been made direct to housing associations:

  • Castle Rock Edinvar HA: £350,000 for 7 homes in in Tranent in East Lothian [or £50,000 per home].
  • Kingdom HA: £225,523 – for 14 homes in the old Crown Hotel in Crieff in Perthshire [or £16,108 per home].
  • Clyde Valley HA: £125,000 – for 7 homes in Coatbridge [or £17,857 per home].

These leave under £5k in the kitty – which will make a difference somewhere?

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6 Responses to Scottish Government dishes out pocket money for central belt town centres

  1. We don’t have a council do we? What we have is elected people that move around Argyll collecting money for very little work effort. How many meeting have taken place to end up with our third leader? What has been the coat of that? I don’t see the area getting any better at all, there must be more charity shops in Argyll than anywhere else in Scotland, the next thing is cash generator and pawn shops along with food banks.

    Is this a sign of success or failure? This Big Sal CEO or what ever is the title for overseer of failure really has to resign now and more on to something more suited to what ever she thinks she can do but it’s not running a council is it?

    In good times it’s easy and no one notices the mistake, but when it gets tough that’s when they are caught out.

    There is now one working for the best interests of Argyll is there ? For years now just for them selfs, need massive change now, I love it when when they say it’s the culture we have to work in at the council, grow a set and make the change, you’ve all got lots of practise working hard behind peoples backs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6

  2. More negativity from the council haters. Rothesay has a THI fund that is helping to bring to life old buildings. Rothesays vacancy rate for shops is low and the number of charity shops is no higher than other towns of a similiar size. That said, Decades of neglect from private owners has created the situation Rothesay is in and unfortunately despite millions of pounds of public investment; flood defences; ferry terminal; marina; affordable housing; private housing grants etc a new economic function has yet to be found. The real question you might want to ask is what is HIE doing about it or what can the people of bute do to improve their lot in the worst recession the world has ever seen. Chucking bricks won’t help or slagging off individuals but if you have any good ideas to help the economy of bute come forward with them or shut up. Your choice.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  3. your comments about rothesay are a big over exaggeration, if i remember your piece on rothesay last year, you had one or two selected buildings that you took photos of, you never done a jot of research into those buildings and basically wrote of the town.

    i suggest you take a wee visit to the town again in the near future, and have alook at the current investment being put into those buildings(that investment was being put in at the time you visited and a little bit of research would have thrown a little light on the subject)

    THI is doing up quite a few buildings, major gap suite getting rebuilt into a major retail unit with housing, derelict looking bake house is under renovation, thats whats happening with just a few of the inaccuracies about the island you spouted with out checking facts about

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  4. The responsibility for buildings lies with the owners. If the wont or can’t maintain them they should be brought into public ownership through a court order or the council/ government takes a security over the title.

    Town centres must be looked on as outside art galleries where every shop window ( including empty ones ) must have a window display which changes every month to provide interest and

    This will encourage people to the town even if only to window shop.

    Empty shops should pay double rates.

    Accessibility for an island or peninsular like Cowal is essential to its long term development. Time for the tunnel to Cowal and onward bridge to Bute.

    This plus the spinoff from oil development west of the Firth of Clyde post Independence will be the renaissance of the Lower Clyde.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

  5. Peter /Steven I’m not running down Rothsay at call it’s a lovely place. My point is that in Argyll as a area we have more in fighting with councillors than we have work from them towards our areas, your luckily to have work being done, most of the towns in Argyll don’t and that is the fault of the council. Chord work is becoming fiction and looks like the fund it’s getting smaller and the blame for hold ups and increasing cost is the fault of the people in charge.

    So sorry if you think I was negative but what else could it be certainly not positive . And yes what does the HIE actually do to regenerate our area?

    What is being done? What do they cost in this area? And what has actually been achieved in the last three years. What about some FOI answers newie? What is on offer to attract business to Argyll and what offers have start up businesses getting? How many new businesses have been attracted to Argyll in the last three years? How many started three years ago and are still in business today ?

    I’m not negative I’m living in a real world with no answers or actions, love to be told I’m wrong by everyone, but that’s not going to happen is it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

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