A business leader believes “dynamite” Dufftown regeneration plans driven by private investment and community engagement could be replicated nationwide.
The Moray town has suffered badly as a result of the economic downturn.
In April, regeneration firm Truerlein revealed that the creation of a shopping arcade, leisure centre and camping facilities were among the proposed projects to breathe fresh life into the town.
Locals are hoping the six-year vision can make the town the beating heart of Speyside.
Business chief backs Dufftown regeneration plans
Now, Scotland’s Towns Partnership chief officer Phil Prentice has backed plans to revitalise the town.
He reckons the model of using private investment for regeneration could be used to save town centres across Scotland.
Mr Prentice said: “I think the Truerlein approach is the way to break through and more sustainable than any of the other regeneration schemes I have seen.
“A locally driven solution with private finance and bringing the community along is unique as far as I am concerned.
“Usually regeneration is driven by larger public sector subsidies or wealthy towns attracting commercial investment.
“There will be complex properties too.
“How does it work as the chip shop’s attached to the café and eight bedrooms above it?
“Nobody as a start-up entrepreneur can take that on as it is too expensive.
“The solution is splitting it into a café, chip shop takeaway and accommodation.”
Promote approach on ‘national level’
He added: “I will be promoting the approach on a national level in hope of the government putting more money to help or showcase this as an good example.
“I can think of places like Selkirk, Jedburgh, Moffat and Peebles who could do a similar approach.
“This approach is going to be more dynamite and make sure it happens.
“Whatever help the Scottish Government can give, we will make sure that they are backing the guys here and making it happen faster.”
Renaissance on the horizon?
Meanwhile during his visit to the town, he saw a community bursting with pride.
He said: “Dufftown has a lot of potential and seen a slow decline like many towns.
“Now it is seeing a renaissance because of Covid and climate change with people moving back to smaller towns.
“Everybody I visited in the shops are proud of being from Dufftown.
‘Nobody knows the town more than locals’
“Post pandemic, the public purse’s challenged and as a result no big man is coming to help Dufftown.
“Therefore the people of Dufftown have to fix it for themselves.
“Nobody knows the town more than them.”
We want to hear about the regeneration plans in other Moray towns. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org