Home   News   Article

Embrace Elgin’s work highlighted as future of town centres discussed

By Ewan Malcolm

Register for free to read more of the latest local news. It's easy and will only take a moment.

Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!

AN event in Inverness has highlighted the work of Embrace Elgin and Elgin BID in their efforts to rejuvenate and regenerate the town.

Embrace Elgin manager Gemma Cruickshank, left, with Bryony Beck of Visit Inverness Loch Ness BID and Lucy Harding of Nairn BID.
Embrace Elgin manager Gemma Cruickshank, left, with Bryony Beck of Visit Inverness Loch Ness BID and Lucy Harding of Nairn BID.

The event, organised by Scotland's Towns Partnership (STP), also highlighted how local responses should be at the heart of recovery from Covid-19, the cost of living crisis and the climate emergency.

Embrace Elgin's work in cutting the number of empty buildings - taking rates down from 17.1 per cent in 2015 to 5.6 per cent today - was discussed by Embrace Elgin manager Gemma Cruickshank.

She said: “This is one of the biggest things we have worked on. It's a major issue in keeping our town centres alive.

“We work with agents - and hold the keys for some properties - and that has worked really well for site visits. We’re doing pretty well and are really happy about it, working closely with Moray Council too.”

The event discussed the Response from the Scottish Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (CoSLA) to the New Future for Scotland’s Town Centres report.

As part of its regular work, Elgin BID organises weekly town centre clean-ups, as well as taking responsibility for maintaining flowerbeds in the town.

Ms Cruickshank also highlighted the success of local events, including a recent food and drink festival which attracted 5,000 people to Elgin town centre. Others include the annual Christmas lights switch-on, which boosts business by drawing in about 10,000 people.

Among the other speakers was John Murray, Founding Director of Highland Food & Drink Club. He highlighted the critical part that the food and hospitality sector plays across the region.

Mr Murray said: “In these challenging times it is even more important for town and city centres to offer their local communities and visitors an attractive proposition to increase footfall and spend.

“In order to breathe new life into our centres, mixed use is without doubt the future – including retail, hospitality, leisure, services and accommodation – coupled with some remodelling of infrastructure to encourage environmentally-friendly transport.

“Deep and meaningful collaboration between all stakeholders - the communities, public, private and third sectors - is vital if we are to address the challenges ahead.”

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More