Approval to start a consultation period on an improvement strategy and action plan for Blantyre Town Centre has been granted.
The strategy will move on to the consultation stage following council approval at the Community and Enterprise Committee on Tuesday (December 7).
Blantyre town centre is the latest in the town centre strategies, following Hamilton, Cambuslang and Larkhall.
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The draft of the Blantyre Town Centre Strategy and Action Plan lists a range of goals the council wish to pursue with partners to support the liveliness of the town.
Blantyre councillor Bert Thomson welcomed the new plans but suggested there is a lot of work to be done, saying: “I am a big supporter of the town centre action plan.
“The plan from the beginning was about what residents and stakeholders desired. Too often with South Lanarkshire, it is a case of asking what you want – then telling you how to live without it. Not this time, it has been dedicated officers, community groups and more importantly local residents and local businesses all contributing.
“The action plan has thrown up lots of positives but clearly it will take more investment than is available at this stage to deliver what residents want.
“People are in broad agreement that a well-maintained town centre, a town centre with investment augments the area and inspires business to invest.
“People will use a well-kept town centre.”
He added: “I suggested or supported improvements like: improved pavements and paths, comprehensive traffic review, more street furniture, that’s benches to the elderly, hanging baskets, improved parking, a new leisure centre and new terminal one.
“A lot of the above will be outwith remit or financial investment but because they are liked it is important to work in unison to deliver or signpost the community in the right direction. By listening to people who live in the area, we can deliver a pulsating town centre.
“We have recently seen a new hub being built in Blantyre, investment in David Livingston Centre.
“Things are improving but there is still a lot more to accomplish.”
The strategy presents an action plan detailing the priorities for Blantyre and points out where resources should be focused; the plan will be ‘live’ with projects changing over time.
The action plan includes a range of changes to the town centre, including refreshing shop fronts, improving existing greenspace, maintaining the current skatepark and upgrading Blantyre Leisure Centre.
Other actions include promoting cycling and walking routes around the town centre, community events to attract visitors and providing free Wi-Fi.
Councillor Maureen Chalmers, for Blantyre, said: “This has been a real challenge, this is the first meeting of the community group to look at the audit since March 2020 before we went into lockdown.
“So a huge thanks to the officers who have managed to resume this and do the type of engagement we’ve been able to do both with the community groups and the businesses – which were challenging because they’ve been really having a difficult time, but they are keen to get into the consultation period now, and I look forward to that.”
The Blantyre Town Centre Strategy and Action Plan will be published and made available for wider consultation from January to March next year.