Helensburgh and Oban will, benefit from the town centre capital fund.
By Aileen MacLellan
Argyll and Bute’s four administrative areas are to benefit from a share of £444,000 of improvements, split equally, as part of the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Capital Fund 2020.
The aim of the fund is to support economic recovery within town centres with a population of 1,000 plus by providing immediate opportunities to secure money into the local economy and to support town centre businesses and the local supply chain/contractors.
At a meeting of the Argyll and Bute Council today members agreed a potential list of capital projects in all fours areas.
These projects have been chosen to support the viability of town centres and, where possible, linked to a town centre action plan that has been taken forward through a making places initiative. A number of these will require match funding to ensure their delivery and a number will be taken forward by third party organisations.
The approved projects are as follows:
Mid Argyll, Kintyre and Islay
- Small scale shopfront improvements in Bowmore, Campbeltown, Lochgilphead/Ardrishaig and Tarbert.
Oban, Lorn and the Isles
- Small scale shopfront improvements in Oban and Tobermory; improved signage; installation of a possible disposal point for motorhome waste within Oban town centre; environmental improvements at McCaig’s Tower; improved WiFi in Oban; and repairs to a floodgate at Tobermory Harbour.
Helensburgh and Lomond
- Small scale shopfront improvements in Helensburgh and Lomond villages with a population of 1,000 plus and assistance to a community group to secure the purchase of the Community and Wellbeing Hub building and to return the property to a good state of repair
Bute and Cowal
- Enhancements to Argyll Gardens in Dunoon; small scale shopfront improvements; continuation of the existing Town Centre Fund to illuminate Dunoon Pier; Provision of an all-weather canopy at Montague Street Gardens Rothesay ; enhanced on shore facilities; improved signage and artwork in town.
The distribution of funding to councils has been based on a complex formula relating to general population and the number of towns with a population in excess of 1,000 people.
The Council’s Policy Lead for Economic Growth, Councillor Alastair Redman, said: “Local businesses have suffered particularly badly this year due to Covid-19. Many are still trying to find their feet again after being in lockdown and, with less people going into their town centres to visit local shops, they are really struggling to keep their head afloat financially.
“It’s vital that we act now and build resilience within our economy. We need to drive forward local economic activities which will not only make out town centres more attractive and appealing for shoppers, but give local businesses a welcome boost.
“As well as encouraging local contractors to bid for the projects, we need people to support their local shops during these tough times. It’s absolutely vital that we work together to get through this.”
Further information about small scale improvements grants will be published on the council website over the next few weeks.