Comhairle to prioritise Balivanich town centre project

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Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is set to prioritise the Balivanich Regeneration Project under the Town Centre Fund for 2019/20.

The Scottish Government announced in December 2018 that it would provide a new ring-fenced £50 million Town Centre Fund for 2019-20 within the local authority capital settlement.

Following that announcement, the Scottish Government confirmed in March 2019 that the award for Na h-Eileanan Siar was a capital grant of £223,000.

The purpose of the grant is to enable local authorities to stimulate and support place-based economic investments which encourage town centres to diversify and flourish, creating footfall through local improvements and partnerships.

Councillor Donald Crichton, chairman of the Sustainable Development Committee, said: ‘Following discussions with the Scottish Government, it is proposed to prioritise this grant to support the recently approved Balivanich Regeneration Project.

‘The report on the Balivanich Strategic Vision to the Sustainable Development Committee in September 2018 was endorsed by the comhairle.

‘The Balivanich Regeneration Project meets the key criteria for the use of the Town Centre Fund in relation to adopting a town centre-based approach to regeneration and in relation to the Place Principle.’

In population terms, North Benbecula, which includes Balivanich, has a total of 790 residents, while South Benbecula has a population of 532, a total of 1,032.

Typically, the Scottish Government use the National Records of Scotland (NRS) definition of a town centre which is a minimum population of 500, while the Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP) has a working definition of a town as a population of 1,000.