Our Town Your Voice – Hamilton’s MP and MSP host business roundtable

Angela Crawley MP and Christina McKelvie MSP today hosted a roundtable meeting with businesses and organisations that have an interest in the Town Centre.

The roundtable follows the launch of an action plan to save Hamilton Town Centre. As part of the engagement process, both of Hamilton’s representatives at Parliament launched a survey – both online and through the post – which has received over 800 responses.

Both Angela and Christina are in the process of arranging a public meeting on the Town Centre, with the aim of giving both residents and businesses an opportunity to highlight some of their concerns and suggest solutions.

At the conclusion of the engagement exercise, the Parliamentarians will produce a joint report making recommendations for evidence based, cost effective change that will help bring people back into the town.

At a recent meeting regarding the action plan, Angela and Christina secured match funding from the Scottish Government to support the regeneration of the town centre.

Commenting, Angela said:

“Town Centres across the country are facing different challenges, and there are a number of reasons behind their demise – the rise in internet shopping, the growth of out of town retail parks and the lack of appeal to large multi-national companies are all factors.

“For too long decision-makers have simply accepted the reduction in footfall as a fore-gone conclusion. However, as a community, we cannot and should not simply accept our town is failing.

“I’ve grown up and lived in Hamilton all my life. I remember a busy town centre, packed with independent traders. Today, I see that same potential – Hamilton undoubtedly has something to offer customers and businesses alike.

“However, if we are going to bring people back to our town, we need to remove unnecessary, self-defeating barriers to trade.

“Our town is managed to make a short-term profit, with no consideration of the long-term effects.

“Fresh thinking and a change in direction can make our town centre busy again, and both Christina and I are determined to make the case for a considered strategy that will have a long-term, positive impact for years to come.

In addition, Christina commented:

“This joint exercise is the first of its kind; two parliaments working together, standing up for the people of Hamilton.

“The town centre has an incredible amount of potential and it’s precisely that potential which has brought the resources of both our offices together.

“The Scottish Government has pledged to work as a willing partner in this project – so much so that they have guaranteed to match the funding for the regeneration of Hamilton Town Centre.

“This action shows how invested we are in this project. We’ve brought the businesses, the owners, the organisations and more importantly, the people of Hamilton to the table.