Perth city centre could become safer, more vibrant and greener as part of a Scottish Government-led recovery plan.
The Fair City is bidding for cash from a new £2 million pot to help pay for property repairs, improvements and conversion work, which could in turn boost visitor numbers.
Perth and Kinross Council leader Murray Lyle took part in the first meeting of the government’s City Centre Recovery taskforce on Thursday morning.
The group set the ball rolling on a programme of planning that will explore ways of revitalising parts of Perth, and other cities who have applied for funding.
Mr Lyle, who heads the council’s Tory administration, said: “It’s early days, so the details are still being worked out.
“But we are looking at the bigger picture, and at how we can work collectively with the government to create or recreate vibrant and safe city centres.”
He said: “Obviously, there’s no one magic bullet, and there won’t be any funding allocated for some time yet.”
Mr Murray said: “One of the points I raised this morning was that it was easy to be railroaded by the likes of Edinburgh or Glasgow, but there are smaller cities such as Perth and Inverness that are on a more challenging footing.”
He said the government money would build on the council’s own scheme, which offers cash aid to property owners to support conversion and improvement plans.
The council’s bid for funding has been welcomed by the Perthshire Chamber of Commerce.
Chief Executive Vicki Unite said: “The Perth city centre proposal, focusing on property repair, improvement and conversion would enhance the aesthetic appeal of one of our oldest cities
“It would give the area’s tourism a boost as well. We are sure The Government will recognise its importance.”
Announcing the new fund, economic secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “There is no denying the severe impact this pandemic has had, and continues to have, on our cities and regions.
“We recognise the sacrifices everyone has made to support our collective effort to get the virus under control and for that we are incredibly grateful.”
She said: “We know the pandemic has had differing impacts across Scotland, and this targeted support allows each local authority to put forward tailored proposals that meet their unique needs and support economic recovery.
“Our City Centre Recovery taskforce will develop a shared vision for the future of Scotland’s city centres, with a focus on innovative actions to help them prosper over the next five years, in a way that encourages inclusive and sustainable growth.”