Communities across Scotland are being asked to help steer the future of their town centres post-coronavirus in a new national survey.

The move comes as an expert review group was formed by the Scottish Government to appraise the current town centre action plan, which was published in 2013, and aims to gather views from a wide range of people.

Professor Leigh Sparks, deputy principal and professor of retail studies at the University of Stirling, is chairing the group that will undertake the review, which will include consultation exercises with the general public and other stakeholders. It will report later this year.

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Aileen Campbell, Scottish Communities Secretary, said diverse views from urban, town, rural and island communities must be heard if town centres are to be revitalised and renewed following Covid-19.

Ms Campbell said the pandemic “has changed the way we all live, work and shop”, adding: “By nurturing connections between local producers and retailers and their communities we enhance the wellbeing of our communities.”

Professor Sparks said on releasing the public survey: “Scotland is a nation of towns. But towns aren’t just a series of buildings, streets and pavements.

“They are made up of people and local communities. As we begin the task of forging a new vision for towns it is crucial that the voices, views and ideas of local people are at its heart.

“The review group wants to hear from as many people as possible about their experiences and their ideas for the future.

“Local people aren’t just bystanders in our towns. Communities are the very lifeblood of our society. If we can put together a strategy that has community input and buy-in from the start, it is our hope that we can all share in the responsibility for its success.”