Ward 3 SNP Councillor Math Campbell-Sturgess today announced he was launching a campaign to save Greenock Town Centre. The town has recently seen a spate of retail locations closing, with speculation that more may follow. The campaign will seek to stop businesses fleeing the town and get shops re-opened and new companies to relocate to Greenock.
Councillor Campbell-Sturgess said:
“We need to urgently do something about the town centre. I have watched several high-profile shops closing in the last six months, and despite agreeing to SNP demands to setup a Town Centre Regeneration Group which has been regularly meeting, so far nothing has been done.
“It cannot have escaped even the Labour administration in Inverclyde Council that our town centre is in serious trouble. Without prompt action by the Council and our partner agencies, Greenock Town Centre may experience irrevocable decline, with companies moving away and staying away.”
The Ward 3 Cllr is proposing that the Council host a Retail Summit for shops and retailers across the town, and invite relevant partner agencies and retail specialists, to see if solutions can be found and problems investigated. He also suggested that the Council should give serious consideration to introducing a rates reduction scheme for affected parts of the town.
Commenting on this he said:
“Since last year, the SNP Scottish Government have given Councils in Scotland the ability to vary rates in particular areas to help town-centres suffering under the Tory austerity agenda. To date Inverclyde Council has not chosen to use these powers, despite Greenock’s rates being particularly high. As a result, numerous shops that have closed or are considering closing have cited rates as one of the major factors. I feel a retail summit aimed specifically at addressing these problems and working with our retail companies is essential ”
“None of this will impinge on the Town Centre Regeneration Group, which I was the principal proponent of, calling for it to be established as part of the last budget process. The group recently had a design charrete which was well attended by residents and businesses alike, and its work continues. But we need to look specifically at retail in the town right now and the challenges it faces such as the town-centre parking situation which has had so many revisions and changes it is hard to keep track of.
“For all their talking and meetings, the Labour group don’t seem to be aware that our town-centre is under severe pressure, and if we don’t act fast, it may be too late.”