Alloa is a town of 20,000 on the River Forth and is the commercial and administrative centre of Clackmannanshire. It has a proud industrial heritage, including fishing, coal mining, glassmaking, textiles and brewing, with much of this located in the town centre. Industrial decline brought multiple challenges to the town. Factories have been replaced by supermarkets, but there are still vacant land and buildings as well as a decline in retail and population in the town centre, which lies in one of Scotland’s most deprived areas.
Public consultation about the town centre was undertaken using the Place Standard Tool. This was led by Clackmannanshire Third Sector Interface (CTSI) and supported by the Council and business community via Alloa First. A 3‐day drop‐in session was held in a vacant shop and links to local access panel, mental health support groups and older people’s forum ensured hard to reach voices were heard. Surveys were done in pubs, hairdressers and the Credit Union and an adapted 5‐ minute paper version of the tool was created, to make participation easier.
Over 300 responses were received. Collectively, these exercises helped identify priorities for action in the town, with a focus on three key areas: care and maintenance; safety; and work, economy, influence and sense of control. A set of projects emerged that reflected these priorities and would support the new residents.
In response to these challenges, Clackmannanshire Council, community, third sector and businesses have come together to shift the dial on the social, economic and environmental issues facing the town centre. As a key component of that, Living Alloa has transformed a derelict town centre site into a stunning development of 60 dementia‐friendly flats, transformed a vacant public toilet into an active travel and town centre hub, and delivered a package of streetscape projects. These improvements make the town safer, more attractive and easier to move around in.
The physical regeneration of the former Co‐op site has been an important landmark for the town. The multi‐agency design process ensured that this has delivered a new iconic building which re‐ establishes former street patterns. It also complements the investment made a decade ago in re‐developing the Category A listed Speirs Centre, directly opposite, as the area’s main library, community access point and Registrars.
The judges were inspired with the place‐based approach in Alloa that has rejected a quick physical makeover in favour of a ‘forever’ project that is rooted in delivering positive long‐term outcomes for people and place. Strong local leadership has nurtured community and business support through a clear strategic plan to address local needs and opportunities.
The town centre housing, active travel hub and public realm projects have delivered new high quality facilities on prominent sites, creating a more active, attractive and accessible place. These early projects have been a catalyst to bring stakeholders together. A broad group of partners are invested in delivering a positive future for the town over the next decade.
Contact: Grant Baxter, Principal Placemaking Officer, Clackmannanshire Council
Tel: 07929 865481