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RTPI Scotland welcomes town centre review report

The Royal Town Planning Institute in Scotland has welcomed recognition in a government commissioned review that urban planning plays a crucial part in the revival of Scottish town centres.

In a report published today, the Town Centre Action Plan Review Group says that urban planning must play a constructive and positive role in supporting town centre recovery, especially in the wake of Covid-19. This is also a key message in the Institute’s Plan the World We Need campaign.

The RTPI said it was pleased the report points to the use of the 4th National Planning Framework as a great opportunity to strengthen the position of town centres and has repeated its calls for robust policies promoting 20-minute neighbourhoods to be embedded in national policy.

Barbara Cummins, Convenor of RTPI Scotland said: “Scotland’s town centres are an important part of everyday life. Indeed this role is becoming even more essential in the post-Covid green recovery given the need for people to have local access to the services and facilities they need.

“Planners can play a vital role in this so I am pleased to see that the expert group has shown how they can be front and centre in helping make this happen.”

In its manifesto, published last week, RTPI Scotland said the pandemic had highlighted the importance of having well-designed, attractive and healthy communities where people have local access to the services, shops and facilities they need no more than a 20 minute walk away.

The Institute has also said the review should now prompt a strengthening of the Town Centre First Principle and the Place Principle and a strong stance should be taken on stopping future out of town development.

Cummins added that the RTPI is keen to further explore the idea of Town Centre Plans put forward in the report, but warned that these should complement rather than duplicate existing local development plans or local place plans.

There is also enormous potential, she said, to create open and transparent digital data platforms to help build the evidence base that can support decision making and allow for sharing of information

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