The great town centre goldrush is underway

A dozen Clydesdale towns and villages are up for a share of a £2.5m windfall to improve their main streets.

They qualify for bidding for improvement projects of at least £50,000 each from the Scottish Government’s Capital Grant Fund.

The council has now produced its list of the 22 places they feel fit the grant rules throughout South Lanarkshire, Clydesdale has scooped the majority of locations.

They are Lanark, Carluke, Kirkmuirhill, Blackwood, Lesmahagow, Law, Biggar, Forth, Douglas, Carnwath, Coalburn and Kirkfieldbank.

The other South Lanarkshire locations are: East Kilbride, Hamilton, Rutherglen, Cambuslang, Blantyre, larkhall, Strathaven, Bothwell, Uddingston, Stonehouse and Ashgill.

A consultation process is now up and running to look at the most appropriate use of the cash from the bids invited from each of the qualifying towns and villages.

These communities have until the end of July to come up with some acceptable improvement scheme and submit it to the council.

A council spokesperson explained: “Local groups can submit bids for local projects that could offer ‘transformational change’ to their town centres under three broad headings: Projects that would bring a new use to a local town centre; Projects that would give a new reason to encourage people to visit a local town centre: Projects that would widen opportunity for visits to a local town centre.

Councillor John Ross, council leader, said the funding must be fully spent by September 2019.

He added: “Any cash which will allow us to focus further on the council’s priority to support town centres is always welcome.

“While we accept that timescales are tight, we know there is already a lot of great work going on that could meet the criteria and could therefore benefit from this cash boost.”

An information event for interested groups will be held in Lanark Memorial Hall at 6.30pm on Tuesday, June 25,