Fu­ture is now look­ing bright

Hamilton Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - Kirsten Mcs­tay

The peo­ple have had their say – and now plans are be­ing worked on to re­vi­talise Hamil­ton town cen­tre.

South La­nark­shire Coun­cil this week pre­sented the find­ings of a pub­lic sur­vey that had over 1200 re­sponses.

And the vi­sion is to build a more com­mu­nity-fo­cussed town cen­tre around its his­toric core.

South La­nark­shire Coun­cil leader and Hamil­ton coun­cil­lor John Ross said: “It won’t hap­pen overnight but we have to start some­where, this is a great op­por­tu­nity to move Hamil­ton for­ward.”

Dozens of peo­ple gath­ered in Hamil­ton Town House on Tues­day night to hear the re­sults of the Pub­lic Con­sul­ta­tion Sur­vey and lis­ten to the coun­cil’s fu­ture pro­pos­als.

The sur­vey saw 1245 peo­ple have their say on what they think the town needs and what their main con­cerns are.

And the meet­ing heard that while Hamil­ton Town Cen­tre has faced many chal­lenges in the last few years, it is now at­tract­ing new in­vest­ment and cre­at­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties that can drive new foot­fall and ad­dress long-stand­ing is­sues of con­cern to lo­cal busi­nesses and the com­mu­nity.

The coun­cil is work­ing with the Hamil­ton Busi­ness Im­prove­ment Dis­trict and town cen­tre part­ners, and peo­ple heard there are plans and pro­pos­als in place to trans­form empty build­ings in the town such as the old Bairds site, the Hamil­ton Town Ho­tel, Vogue Cin­ema.

Coun­cil­lor Ross said: “The town cen­tre has faced many chal­lenges as the eco­nomic cri­sis had taken its toll, park­ing out­side shops, click and col­lect, and the growth of the dig­i­tal high street. We need to take a more holis­tic ap­proach to build­ing the fu­ture of Hamil­ton.”

The coun­cil said it been de­vel­op­ing a strat­egy in­volv­ing lo­cal con­sul­ta­tion and ad­dress­ing lo­cal is­sues. It seeks co-or­di­nated and multi-part­nered ac­tion to en­cour­age in­vest­ment and im­prove the town cen­tre.

Hamil­ton East MP An­gela Craw­ley said: “I wel­come the re­sults of the coun­cil’s con­sul­ta­tion which are broadly in line with the re­sponses Christina Mck­elvie MSP and I re­ceived in 2016.

“We know the is­sues around park­ing, traf­fic man­age­ment and empty shop units – it’s now time for the so­lu­tions.

“I look for­ward to the coun­cil’s pro­pos­als that will go be­fore com­mit­tee later this year and to their im­ple­men­ta­tion in the near fu­ture.”

Hamil­ton, Larkhall and Stone­house MSP Christina Mck­elvie said: “I am de­lighted that the town cen­tre pub­lic meet­ing was a suc­cess, putting con­crete re­gen­er­a­tion pro­pos­als di­rect to the peo­ple of South La­nark­shire.

“Work­ing in col­lab­o­ra­tion, South La­nark­shire Coun­cil have lis­tened to the rec­om­men­da­tions of the Our Town, Your Voice re­gen­er­a­tion re­port and are putting them into ac­tion.

“I have al­ways be­lieved in the po­ten­tial of Hamil­ton and in the in­cred­i­bly ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties that our town pos­sesses. This town cen­tre strat­egy shows the real am­bi­tion of the newly-ap­pointed SNP ad­min­is­tra­tion. Work­ing for our con­stituents, the SNP are bring­ing in­vest­ment, op­por­tu­nity and trans­for­ma­tive change to the peo­ple of South La­nark­shire.”

Pro­pos­als will now go be­fore a coun­cil com­mit­tee on Oc­to­ber 30.

This is a great op­por­tu­nity to move Hamil­ton for­ward

Look­ing to the fu­ture Changes are be­ing planned for the town cen­tre

Stacks of opin­ions Lo­cals were asked to take part in dis­cus­sions about the re­gen­er­a­tion of Hamil­ton town cen­tre

mpty units Open­ing Quarry Street up to traf­fic has been sug­gested

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