Hamilton’s MP and MSP have welcomed the latest development in regenerating Hamilton’s town centre.

A report entitled ‘Hamilton Town Centre Strategy and Action Plan and Town Centre Audits’ will go before South Lanarkshire’s Community and Enterprise Resources committee on Tuesday the 6th of March.

Included in the report are a number of initiatives to regenerate the town centre, including conducting a feasibility study on opening Quarry Street to traffic, bringing vacant ground back into use and reviewing the parking system within the town centre.

If approved by Councillors, the paper will go for an 8 week period of consultation with stakeholders – including a public consultation event – before going back to committee for their approval.

This process follows an exercise undertaken by Angela and Christina to consult with the residents of Hamilton and get their views on how the town centre could be improved. They produced a report and made recommendations on changes that should be introduced.

In a joint statement, Angela Crawley MP and Christina McKelvie MSP said:

“In early 2016, the Hamilton Advertiser undertook a special investigation that found 45 business premises lying vacant. As representatives of the town, we thought that was unacceptable.

“However, a lot has changed since then.

“There’s been a rates revaluation by the Scottish Government which removed over £3.5 million in charges from local businesses and took 200 town centre businesses out of paying business rates.

“There’s also been a change in administration at South Lanarkshire Council, with the SNP standing on a platform during the election of town centre regeneration.

“Both of these factors have and will continue to be instrumental in changing Hamilton for the better.

“Within the proposed document, there are a number of initiatives that we included in our action plan – including opening up Quarry Street to traffic and investing in stalled spaces. It’s also welcome to see proposals to regenerate some of the existing buildings within the town and look at new ways to encourage people to visit Hamilton.

“This exercise put into action has the potential to be transformative for the town centre – bringing people, business and jobs back to Hamilton.

“We therefore call on all Councillors to back the proposals at the committee meeting and start the consultation process.”