Business leaders have unveiled a bold new masterplan for the future of Perth and called for the city to be “taken out of its comfort zone”.
The independent Perth City Development Board proposes an ambitious “agenda for change” to tackle a series of challenges over the next 20 years, while creating thousands of new homes and jobs.
Superstar designer Wayne Hemingway will come back to the city to lead a new urban strategy to set the standard for new development and regeneration.
Among the greatest issues facing the Fair City is a predicted population surge. By 2040, the number of people living in Perth is expected to rise by 20% from 50,000 to 60,000.
The board, made up of local business leaders, councillors and other local organisations, said 5,000 extra houses need to be built to cope with the extra demand.
However, it wants to see more homes being built in the heart of the city, rather than on the outskirts.
The Perth 2040 paper states: “Our goal is to grow the city economy at a rate which matches population growth, from 25,000 full-time equivalent jobs to 30,000.”
The masterplan aims to maximise the city’s contribution to the regional and Scottish economy, increasing the city’s contribution to Scotland’s GVA by 30 to 35%.
It is proposed to develop an action plan to make Perth one of the country’s first carbon-neutral cities by 2040, with a 25% reduction in car use – and shift to public transport – within the next five years.
The board also expects to see a new four or five star city centre hotel – in the largely unused council building on High Street – and a new aviation academy at Perth College by 2025.
Other goals include doubling the volume and value of business and leisure tourism and ensuring no part of the city is among the 20% most deprived in Scotland.
The agenda, which will go before councillors next week, spotlights transformational changes being made such as the revamp of Perth City Hall and the recently launched Creative Exchange.
A spokesman said: “This is clearly a moment of opportunity for Perth.
“We need to capitalise by pressing by pressing ahead with a bold new strategy, providing leadership and championing big ideas.
“We need to tell a compelling story about how Perth will rise to the challenges we face, and translate the vision into ambitious and tangible actions.
“We need to have the courage of our convictions and take the city out of its comfort zone.
“When we get it right, we should celebrate and communicate our successes. We want Perth to be renowned as a leader in modern small city development.”