Bold bid launched to boost Milngavie Precinct

Milngavie precinct'1/8/12'Photo Emma Mitchell
Milngavie precinct'1/8/12'Photo Emma Mitchell

MILNGAVIE Precinct could be transformed - if traders back a plan to take charge of the town centre.

Huge sums of cash could be found to promote and regenerate the area, say the backers of a business scheme.

They want traders to vote to set up a Business Improvement District (BID) covering Milngavie Precinct.

Backers say this is crucial to town centre regeneration - and that it will prove key to the precinct’s survival in the face of supermarket competition and the recession.

The BID plan would see all traders paying a levy based on the rateable value of their property.

Small traders would pay less and big businesses would pay more.

All cash would be ploughed back into Milngavie Precinct and would be used for promoting the area, improving its look and holding events.

A new company called Milngavie My Way would be formed which, by agreement with the council, would look at problems like town centre parking - a contentious issue for workers, shoppers and traders.

Crucially, the new company could then look at securing funding streams (from, for example, the European Union) which could bring in millions.

This is the second time the BID has been launched - a first attempt narrowly failed last year when it didn’t get the backing of the large, ‘national’ stores.

It was estimated then that Milngavie Precinct had missed out on at least £500,000 worth of funding, and planned projects such as a busking festival, a walking festival centred around the West Highland Way and an enhanced Book and Arts Festival had to be scrapped.

Ian Lavrie, of Milngavie Traders Association, said: “This isn’t just about the businesses, it’s about the community. If you don’t have a town centre you don’t have a focal point for the community.

“In these difficult times we have to do whatever it takes to promote our town centre.

“We need to encourage people to use it - because if you don’t use it, you lose it.”

The Townhead Carpets boss pointed to the success of the Clarkston BID, where a town centre ‘loyalty card’ scheme has been set up to encourage local trade.