Hamilton welcomes Scottish Parliament committee as local group hails successful town center inquiry visit

Hamilton welcomed a Scottish Parliament committee to the town this week to explore ways to tackle issues faced on the high street and retail.

Members of the Economy and Fair Work Committee were given a walking tour of Hamilton town center as they sought views on the realities of how ecommerce impacts shopping locally.

The event was a huge success as positive discussions were held, allowing politicians to feed back on how the Lanarkshire town has coped in recent years.

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It was hosted by Hamilton Our Town, Business Improvement District (BID), who provided the tour and held a round-table discussion with members and local stakeholders.

In recent years, Hamilton has been bearing the brunt of the decline of the high street as much as anywhere with the devastating closures of shops such as M&S.

hamilton town center

But groups such as Hamilton BID have remained pro-active in finding ways to support businesses and increase footfall in the town.

That’s seen initiatives such as the Christmas and Easter street markets which proved to be a huge success in providing family entertainment and engagement back to the town center while helping local firms.

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MSPs in attendance at the visit on Monday, May 16, included Christina McKelvie, Colin Smyth and Gordon MacDonald.

Representatives from local businesses as well as the Regent Shopping Center and South Lanarkshire Council were also there to discuss opportunities and challenges of Hamilton town centre.

Hamilton BID manager Malcolm Thomas-Harley told Lanarkshire Live there were plenty of positives to take from the event which provided members information to feed back to the Scottish Parliament with.

He said: “The objective was for the committee to get something out of it and for BID to be able to articulate the issues Hamilton faced.

“We hope we can now help to make a difference.”

The inquiry was launched due to the changing nature of retail and it aims to uncover what can be done to rejuvenate town centers across Scotland.

Members look to tackle the challenge of ecommerce and the impact the pandemic has had on local shops.

They hope to understand what a successful town center looks like in the coming years and what can be done to help local organizations achieve this.

Malcolm added: “We’re delighted that the economy committee has chosen Hamilton and ourselves as hosts for their visit to the town.

“The work of this committee could help shape the future of Scotland’s towns, therefore this opportunity to meet the members and feedback the challenges and opportunities from a Hamilton perspective is welcomed.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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