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Payback benefits for urban regeneration fund in Scotland

Words: Roger Milne
Office / Shutterstock_174876011

One of the Scottish Government’s urban regeneration initiatives has passed an important milestone.

The government’s SPRUCE (Scottish Partnership for Regeneration in Urban Centres) fund has proved so successful that more money is now available for additional proposals.

The fund initially invested £50 million, in loan form, in regeneration and energy-efficiency schemes across Scotland. As those loans are starting to be repaid and some ahead of time, the investment can be recycled and used to deliver further regeneration projects.

Thus, housing minister Kevin Stewart, this week announced £8.9 million to support a scheme involving refurbished office space (the former headquarters of Scottish Equitable) in central Edinburgh. The scheme will provide some 3,252 square metres of grade A office floorspace.

He said: “What makes this investment so exciting is that the SPRUCE fund has already provided £50 million to regenerate urban areas and it’s been so successful we have added a further £15 million to the pot.

“SPRUCE loans are now being recycled with the repayments being used to deliver yet more new infrastructure, supporting the economy and jobs and transforming our communities for the better.”

The RTPI has suggested that this approach might have wider appeal – and implications. Scottish director Craig McLaren said: "The fact that the SPRUCE model is able to recycle money raised through the loan element of its financing makes it an interesting model. Given this, it may be worth exploring if it has potential in supporting the future funding of development and infrastructure."

Meanwhile, in a separate but related move, seven urban areas across Scotland will benefit from the latest round of Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS) funding.

Projects in Rothesay, Penicuik, Union Street in Aberdeen, Cockenzie, Jedburgh, Maybole and Dunoon will receive a combined £6.2 million to help them regenerate vacant and underused historic buildings and attract further investment.

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