Bids invited for £2.5m town centres improvement fund

Published: Friday 7 June 2019

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We are inviting bids for a share of a £2.5million fund to improve town centres.

A consultation process is now up and running to look at the most appropriate use of the cash, allocated to the council by the Scottish Government’s Capital Grant Fund.

Councillors on the Community and Enterprise Resources committee this week agreed to open up the bid process to the 22 local towns centres with a population of more than 1000, as per the fund rules for distribution of the money.

Subject to a minimum project bid of £50,000, these are:

East Kilbride; Hamilton; Rutherglen; Cambuslang; Blantyre; Larkhall; Lanark; Carluke; Strathaven; Bothwell; Uddingston; Stonehouse; Kirkmuirhill and Blackwood; Lesmahagow; Law; Biggar; Forth; Douglas; Ashgill; Carnwath; Coalburn; Kirkfieldbank.

As of this week, local groups will have until the end of July to formulate and submit bids for local projects that could offer ‘transformational change’ to their town centres under three broad headings:

  • Projects that would bring a new use to a local town centre
  • Projects that would give a new reason to encourage people to visit a local town  centre
  • Projects that would widen opportunity for visits to a local town centre.

Council Leader John Ross said the council welcomed the funding. He said: “Any cash which will allow us to focus further on the council’s priority to support town centres is always welcome. While we accept that timescales are tight, we know there is already a lot of great work going on that could meet the criteria and could therefore benefit from this cash boost. Our decision at committee will enable the widest possible access to the fund, across urban and rural South Lanarkshire, building on town centre plans, partnership working and community participation.

“We know that ‘transformational change’ means different things to different communities and that’s why we have opened up this process to as many as can possibly benefit. We want to build on achievements already made, and at the same time offer the chance to go down new avenues, with the ultimate aim of boosting town centres across South Lanarkshire.”

There is a number of criteria that potential projects must meet to enable their bid to be assessed:

  • Bids of a minimum of £50,000
  • Only one bid from each town – where more than one body wants to bid in a town, the council will ask that a lead organisation is appointed and that collaboration takes place
  • Bids must come from formally constituted bodies with a bank account e.g community councils
  • Proposals should reflect existing town centre action plans
  • A project delivery plan is needed to evidence that the project can be delivered in time and on budget

Councillor John Anderson, Chair of the Community and Enterprise Resources Committee: “Together with our existing commitments to improve and enhance town centres for 21st century life, this fund provides an opportunity for genuine community participation towards that goal.”

Two information events will be held later this month to which interested groups are invited, on Monday 24 June from 6:30pm at the Banqueting hall, council offices, Almada Street, Hamilton and on Tuesday 25 June 6:30pm at Lanark Memorial Hall.

Officers will be on hand on each evening to talk through the bid process in detail and will give a short presentation, followed by a Q&A session.

The bid deadline is Wednesday 31 July with assessment taking place throughout August with the successful bids announced in September.

More information is available by emailing the funding and development team or going to our Town Centre Fund page.