Town centre focus pledge

Business leaders in Motherwell have welcomed a pledge by Scotland’s Planning Minister Derek MacKay to insist on major developments being located in established town centres.

William Gear, director of Brandon Shopping Centre owner Chester Properties said the commitment was ‘particularly heartening’, while Maureen Gormley of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) agreed it would provide a much needed boost to its members.

Launching consultations on a new Scottish Planning Policy, Mr Mackay said: “We will support our review of town centres by insisting that major new developments which attract people - like workplaces, leisure facilities and shops - are in town centres wherever possible.

“We want to see development which ensures lively, successful and viable town centres.”

Mr Gear said: “We very much welcome Mr Mackay’s backing for established town centres like Motherwell.

“We are particularly encouraged by his commitment to ensure that Scotland’s new planning framework recognises and protects established town centres as the heart of their local communities.”

Ms Gormley, chairwoman of the 1,100-strong Lanarkshire branch of FSB, added: “It is good to see Mr Mackay recognise the need for planning policies to ensure the vitality and viability of established town centres.

“That should provide a welcome boost for our members who run shops and businesses in Motherwell and other Lanarkshire high streets, especially in these tough economic times.”