This free half-day SURF Awards workshop event in the COSLA Centre, Edinburgh, Scotland on May 18, 2017 provides an opportunity to explore successful current approaches towards reversing economic decline in Scotland’s towns with two winning projects from both the’ Most Improved Town’ and ‘Community Led Regeneration’ categories highlighted in the 2016 SURF Awards process.
Workshop guests will firstly hear from project a representative in the ‘Most Improved Town’ category winner Lochgelly. After being deemed ‘the worst place to live in Britain’ in 2004 and winning the Carbuncle Award in 2010 Fife Council, along with Ore Valley Housing Association and local community groups responded by developing a Lochgelly Masterplan which included the establishment of a Community Development Forum and the delivery of a Community Charrette.
This will be followed by input from the ‘Community Led Regeneration’ winner Tomintoul and Glenlivet Regeneration Project. To support the rural area’s socio-economic recovery a dedicated community organisation, the Tomintoul and Glenlivet Development Trust, was established to identify and deliver appropriate regeneration responses. This included the reopening of a Visitor Information Centre and the two local hotels, saving the local youth hostel and establishing the Glenlivet Mountain Bike Trails.
Following an open discussion session with the projects attendees will hear from Scottish Government representatives who will give an overview of the Town Centre Action Plan. This will be followed by short presentations from Highlands and Island Enterprise and Scotland’s Towns Partnership on the role they provide in helping to reverse economic decline within Scotland’s towns. The floor will then be open for wider discussion on national policy.
The SURF Awards ‘Most Improved Town’ judging panel team – comprising representatives of Scotland’s Towns Partnership, Royal Town Planning Institute Scotland, Architecture + Design Scotland, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Heads of Planning Scotland and the Scottish Government – were particularly enthused by approaches taken to make Lochgelly a vibrant town with a lot to offer, and the potential of replication to other town centres. The SURF Awards ‘Community Led Regeneration’ judging panel team – comprising of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Bellsmyre Development Trust, Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland and Scottish Community Development Centre – were impressed by the ambition and vision of the Development Trust which has provided a strong foundation for success in reversing economic decline. The judges will be participating in the workshop, which also features a discussion session and networking lunch, to help draw out transferable lessons from the participating projects.