Town centre first

The council recognises that town centres have an important role to play in the sustainable development of local economies. The revitalisation through the regeneration strategy in the four northerly towns and continuation to support our vibrant towns throughout the rest of Aberdeenshire remains a priority. Town centres are a common denominator within delivery of our services, and they are the heart of our communities, forming a key component of the intensity of civic pride. They can act as a hub for various activities, offering spaces to meet and interact, with access to a range of facilities and services. They are still very much a base for many small businesses and jobs and offer a variety of visitor attractions.

When invited to sign up to the Town Centre First Principle in 2015, following an invitation from the Scottish Government and COSLA to all local authorities, third sector organisations and community planning partners asking that an approach be adopted to allow all decisions that considers the vibrancy of town centres as a starting point, asking that the health of town centres features in the decision-making processes. A decision was made for Aberdeenshire Council to lead the way, to take the principle above and beyond the Town Centre First Planning Policy allowing open and transparent decision-making, taking into account the short, medium and longer term impacts our decisions can have on town centres and the communities they serve. The Town Centre First Principle was approved as a policy at the Infrastructure Services committee in December 2016. The policy has been rolled out through all decision-making processes in all services at the council.

Town Centre First Principle Policy

Town centres are a key element of the economic, social and environmental fabric of Scotland’s towns; often at the core of community and economic life, offering spaces in which to live, meet and interact, do business, and access facilities and services. We must take collective responsibility to help town centres thrive sustainably, reinvent their function, and meet the needs of residents, businesses, and visitors for the 21st century.

Aberdeenshire Council will put the health of town centres at the heart of proportionate and best value decision-making, seeking to deliver the best local outcomes regarding investment and deinvestment decisions, alignment of policies, targeting of available resources to priority town centre sites, and encouraging vibrancy, equality and diversity.

We commit to: A collaborative approach which understands and underpins the long term plan for each town centre.

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