RTPI Scotland welcomes report highlighting ‘crucial’ role of town centres in post-Covid recovery

Falkirk town centre (Image credit: Marcin Kadziolka, Shutterstock)

THE Royal Town Planning Institute in Scotland says it welcomes recognition in a government commissioned review that urban planning plays a ‘crucial’ part in the recovery of town centres.

The organisation was responding to a newly published report by the Town Centre Action Plan Review Group, which said urban planning must play a constructive and positive role, especially in the wake of Covid-19.

The RTPI said it was pleased the report points to the use of the 4th National Planning Framework as an 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.”

RTPI Scotland recently published its manifesto ahead of the upcoming Scottish elections, in which it revealed 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.

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