South Lanarkshire Council needs to reform Hamilton’s business rates and parking charges according to a report by Angela Crawley MP and Christina McKelvie MSP released on Monday, October 31.

The Hamilton SNP politicians presented the results of their ‘Our Town, Your Voice’ report in Hamilton Town House on Monday, and made the recommendations to revitalise the town centre.

The report was based on a consultation that received 1800 responses from Hamilton’s residents and business owners, and was sparked by a special investigation by the Hamilton Advertiser which revealed there were 45 empty units in the heart of the town.

Ms Crawley said: “The results of our consultation are clear – action has to be taken now in order to reverse the damage that has been done to our town centre.

“Much of this damage has been the result of the changing patterns of shoppers that is reflected across the country, but high business rates and excessive parking charges have made it worse.

“Our report shows that there are steps that South Lanarkshire Council can take to create conditions to revitalise our town centre, but also that the people of Hamilton have a big role to play.

“I hope this will serve to inspire people to use things like the Community Empowerment Act to once again take ownership of our town centre.

Ms McKelvie added: “The launch of the report was exactly as anticipated – a positive, thoughtful and constructive discussion on our town centre.

“Within our recommendations, we have outlined cost-effective, progressive steps for change.

“We can now work with the people who have a real stake in our town centre towards fulfilling the potential we know our town possesses.”