14 February 2017. Stop the decline of Cambuslang Main Street! This is the main message from the Cambuslang Business Survey 2017. A survey of 77 businesses on the Main Street show that the town centre is in trouble and may be reaching a tipping point. A sizeable proportion of retailers (40%) have experienced declining business performance over the past three years. Almost a quarter assess their current performance as poor, and 20% have considered closing down or moving out of Cambuslang. The potential damaging economic impact is clear from the data analysis undertaken for this survey. The Main Street retail sector supports some 350 jobs and an estimated turnover of between £8 million and £11 million. Losing more shops would accelerate a vicious cycle of decline. Less measurable, though also important, is the effect of decline on civic pride. The shifting fortunes of the Main Street are partly due to changing shopping patterns. However, there are factors specific to Cambuslang which retailers believe need urgent action. Top of the list is a new parking strategy to address the lack of sufficient spaces and time for parking. Other important priorities are related to security (crime, vandalism, anti-social behaviour), the layout and appearance of the street and the level of traffic and congestion. More diversity of shops is needed, particularly at least one new anchor store (supermarket) in the centre of the Main Street.
Further decline of the Main Street is not inevitable. There are many examples of how town centres across the UK are taking effective action to turn around their main streets and high streets. Regeneration will require concerted action by businesses with support from the wider community, and – crucially – leadership from South Lanarkshire Council and Scottish Government. The results of this survey indicate a clear case for a new policy approach by South Lanarkshire Council to regenerate Cambuslang Main Street. We make the following recommendations:
- a Town Centre Regeneration Strategy involving:
- establishment of a Town Centre Regeneration Task Force of all relevant bodies;
- a Main Street Action plan to address the most urgent issues (e.g. parking);
- a Business Improvement Plan for commercial revival of the Main Street;
- extension of Clyde Gateway to include Cambuslang;
- a ‘town centre first’ policy in the new SLC Local Development Plan and future investment decisions (including rescinding planning approval for a supermarket on Bridge Street); and
- development of a new long-term masterplan for the layout of Cambuslang Town Centre to provide a road-map for future decision-making on planning and investment.
30 September 2016. Success! Cambuslang Community Council have won a grant of £59,000 from the Scottish Government’s Community Choices Fund to fund a project ‘Greening Cambuslang: changing neighbourhoods for the better’. Watch the news page for updates on the allocation of the grant.
29 July 2016. As a follow-up to the Main Street improvements, Cambuslang Community Council have applied for a new grant from the Scottish Government’s Community Choices Fund. The application is for almost £59,000 to fund a project ‘Greening Cambuslang: changing neighbourhoods for the better’. The aim of the project is to inspire the community to improve the local environment of Cambuslang. Participatory Budgeting would be used to fund ideas for neighbourhood environmental improvements (such as street planting, community gardens, biotopes, neighbourhood street furniture, public art, environment-related events) from local community, resident or tenant groups, individual tenants or residents, schools or clubs. We expect to hear by the end of August whether we have been successful. Fingers crossed!
31 June 2016. The Greening the Main Street project is transforming the Main Street, with the street planters in full bloom and 60 hanging baskets now installed. 26 barrier baskets will follow shortly. The launch of a new Cambuslang in Bloom group has been a big success with 25 members signed up in less than three months. Many thanks for all the positive feedback from the community!
16 April 2016 – Cambuslang Community Council’s ‘Greening the Main Street’ programme is starting to be put into action. 15 street planters have been positioned all along the street, each containing a rowan or cherry tree. The planters will be filled with plants and flowers in May. Brackets have begun to be fitted to shops and businesses to take over 50 hanging baskets which will be hung in May also. The improvements are being funded by a £35,000 grant won by Cambuslang Community Council in a bid to the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Communities Capital Fund.
The work was carried out by members of Cambuslang Community Council, with a great and valued input from James and Scott Stevenson (Urban Alfresco Community Garden Centre, Johnson Drive) and George Bruce and a team from First Steps Future Training, as well as South Lanarkshire Council’s Community Payback Team.
The planting and future improvements to Cambuslang Main Street is being undertaken by a new group – Cambuslang in Bloom – set up by Cambuslang Community Council together with Cambuslang Allotment Gardens. If you would like to contribute a few hours a month to Cambuslang in Bloom, please email the group firstname.lastname@example.org.
7 October 2015 – Results of the Cambuslang Community Survey 2015! The results of the Cambuslang Community Survey were launched on Wednesday, 7 October. The report ‘What do people think of Cambuslang?’ presents the results of the Community Survey conducted by Cambuslang Community Council over the period June-August 2015. Based on almost 1,100 replies – one of the largest community surveys in Scotland and equivalent to 10.4% of the Cambuslang Community Council area – the survey provides extensive insights into the community’s views on the strengths and weaknesses of Cambuslang and the priorities for improvement. The results are being used to develop a new Community Strategy for the town. The survey report is available here and is reported in the Rutherglen Reformer (see picture below).
The first of a series of launch meetings to discuss the results and a new Community Strategy was held today with Margaret Ferrier MP, Councillor Deanie, Councillor Tullet, members of Cambuslang Community Council and representatives of Cambuslang Parish Church, Healthy n Happy Community Development Trust, Universal Connections Youth Club, Friends of Cambuslang Park, Friends of Holmhills Park, Friends of Douglas Park, Cambuslang Football Club, the Probus Club, Cambuslang Heritage Group and members of the Main Street business community. A copy of the presentation to the meeting is here.
29 September 2015 – Bid submitted to the Town Centre Communities Capital Fund. Cambuslang Community Council have submitted an application for almost £130,000 to the Scottish Government under the Town Centre Communities Capital Fund for improvements to the Main Street. Following two focus groups and extensive consultation with residents and the businesses in the Main Street, the application seeks funding for: a new planting programme (street planters, hanging baskets, barrier baskets); enclosures for the waste bins; a coherent colour scheme for railings, barriers and shutters; welcome signs at either end of the Main Street; and virtual shopfronts for the vacant units. 40 shopkeepers have signed up to participate in the hanging baskets scheme. We expect to hear the outcome of the bid before the end of October.
4 September 2015 – Meeting to discuss Town Centre funding: We are checking the feasibility of making a bid for funding to brighten up the Main Street. The Scottish Government are providing £1.7 million under a Town Centre Communities Capital Fund with a deadline of 29 September. We have been speaking with local residents’ groups and shopowners/managers on the Main Street and have organised a meeting in the Cambuslang Institute on Wednesday, 9 September (5.30-6.30 pm) – following up on a previous meeting in August – to discuss ideas and options. All are welcome!
Improving the Main Street
Many of the most important concerns expressed by local people in Cambuslang relate to the centre of the town and specifically the state of the Main Street. These concerns range from fundamental design issues – like the layout of the Main Street and the architecture of Cambuslang Gate – to the retail environment such as the number of vacant retail units, the mix of shops and the condition of some shopfronts. Other issues are the availability of parking, the unsightly positioning of big wheelie bins, and the condition of the pavements.
A basic problem is the long-term shift in shopping patterns, due to competition from big supermarkets and shopping via the web, exacerbated by the economic downturn. Many people choose to do their shopping elsewhere, but they have also been spending less in recent years. Several shops on the Main Street have suffered from a loss of business and closed.
Cambuslang Community Council have made representations about the state of the town centre in its response to the draft Local Development Plan here. They were also partners in a ‘Town Centre Forum’ established by South Lanarkshire Council in 2013 and which ran until Summer 2015 to discuss problems and possible improvements with retailers, residents and other stakeholders. With the abolition of the Town Centre forum, the Community Council is considering setting up its own Town Centre Group as a way of involving the business community in discussions about the development of the Main Street.