The Town Centre Regeneration Fund could have been put to better use by Angus Council by heeding the guidelines issued by the Scottish Government quoted below;
Improving pedestrian or vehicle access to a town centre • Improving parking provision within a town centre • Attracting increased footfall, both by day and by night • Diversification of the mix of services and amenities within a town centre, underpinned by an understanding of the requirements of the local community • Acquisition of gap sites and vacant properties for redevelopment • Street-scape improvements which enhance and improve how a town centre operates, providing these are of sufficient scale and ambition to represent a capital investment • Remediation of vacant or derelict sites within the town centre to fit them for retail, residential, business or recreational use • Purchase of gap sites to allow for use as residential, retail, business or recreation • Remodelling of existing premises to provide a suitable mix and floor plan of retail, business, residential and recreational uses, or to comply with Disability Discrimination Act legislation
Take, for example, the last recommendation; are some elements not perfectly suited to our City Hall which is in dire need of upgrading to ensure its place in Brechin’s future?
A dedicated coach drop-off and waiting point has always been an issue raised by those wanting to encourage visitor footfall to the Town House Museum and the Cathedral-Round Tower precinct, as a consequence this would help local caterers, hotels, pubs and businesses. Also, tourist information signage is inadequate throughout the centre to direct visitors to the museum info point.
The gap site at Woolworths could have been purchased under separate negotiation for re-development into micro business units, while parts of the Church Street car park could have been developed into a traditional market pavilion fit for weekend traders such as the farmer’s market.
Oblique parking could have been re-invented in the High Street and Panmure/Clerk Street could be ‘street-scaped’ to provide additional parking.
All of these suggestions(no doubt you have your own) involve capital expenditure as stated in the government guidelines and would be have been straightforward to effect by Angus Council.
It is sad to see the fund being used to purchase abandoned commercial premises with complicated legal implications (or residential properties that have been neglected by their owners for years) when there are few business incentives to start up in Brechin being broadcast by this Angus Council administration.
Admittedly there was a time-scale stitched into the TCRF but Angus Council have dealt Brechin a massive blow by painting themselves into a corner with their dogmatic approach to the interpretation of the government guidelines and simply ‘not seeing the wood for the trees’.
At no time did Brechin’s office-bearing councillors or their council officers ask the people of Brechin what they thought was the best way regenerate the city centre; how sad and conceited is that?
Brechin Scout Group would like to thank all those who helped make the Christmas card delivery a huge success - all the sorters, deliverers, the small committee who organise everything as well as the people of Brechin who continue to support us.
We appreciate that this year was particularly difficult for you all with the freezing temperatures, heavy snow and treacherous pavements.
If there were medals to hand out you would all have earned one, but sadly all we can say is thank you!