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Stirling’s retail expert joins government’s Review of Town Centres

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Stirling’s Professor Leigh Sparks has been invited to join the Scottish Government’s Review of Town Centres, a national initiative to help breathe new life into Scotland’s town centres.

The task force of experts will meet later this month for the first time and will report to Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities.

Professor Sparks says; “Scotland's towns and town centres are a defining feature and vital resource for the country. They are at the heart of Scotland and Scottish life.

“They provide enormous social and economic benefits, improve quality of life and meet Scottish Government priorities. In a carbon challenged future they enhance accessibility and environmental resource sharing.

“Yet Scotland's towns and town centres are, at best, in a state of decline and arrested decay. It has been widely recognised that Scotland’s town centres need new thinking and life to play their full part in the social and economic life of the country.“

The Review, which is chaired by leading architect Malcolm Fraser, includes a panel of experts from organisations including Ernst and Young, the Association of Town Centre Managers, Scottish Retail Consortium, Creative Scotland, Scottish Chambers of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses.

The review is tasked to agree an action plan for re-energising Scotland’s town centres, addressing issues associated with planning, rents and rates, competition and empty properties.

“This Review provides the best opportunity to come up with radical thinking and action,” says Professor Sparks, “and I am looking forward to being heavily involved.”

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