A window on to bigger things

The Scottish Cities Alliance aims to achieve an eco­nomically stronger future for Scotland through the joint efforts of the country’s seven cities – Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Perth and Stirling.

The Alliance is the unique collabora­tion of Scotland’s cities and the Scottish Government working together to create the conditions for economic growth, by strategically focusing on three programmes of work: Infrastructure, Low Carbon and Smart Cities.

With its Investment Prospectus outlin­ing £10 billion worth of potential across the seven cities of Scotland, the Alliance has brought the city investment require­ments into one document to allow inves­tors to have all the information they need at their fingertips.

Split into sectors, the 53-page Invest­ment Prospectus allows prospective inves­tors to go straight to their area of interest and expertise whether that is hotel and leisure, industrial, office, residential or mixed use, highlighting the great range of investor, developer and occupier oppor­tunities spread across the Scottish cities. The vast breadth of opportunity available highlights Scotland’s cities as modern, innovative places in which to invest and do business.

Stirling’s location makes it the ideal business location and its vast investment potential is highlighted in the Alliance’s online prospectus which features several opportunities around the city.

Scotland’s ancient capital lies in the heart of the country, making it a prime business location. As well as its excellent road and rail links, it is within 45 minutes of two major airports and has 55% of the population of Scotland living within an hour of the city.

This proud city has great ambitions, as revealed by the council’s bold £200 mil­lion plan which will reposition Stirling as an economic and cultural powerhouse.

Its vision to become a world-class centre of innovation and excellence is an all-round blueprint to make the city a thriv­ing cultural hub, as well as a vibrant and cosmopolitan place to live and work.

This visionary masterplan aims to capi­talise on the high level of entrepreneurial activity in Stirling, with around 100 more businesses per 10,000 of the population than the Scottish average.

Carol Beattie, senior manager of eco­nomic development at Stirling Council, said: “Stirling is a great city with so much to offer investors, businesses and develop­ers and this City Development Framework will allow us to grow in an ever more com­petitive global business landscape.

“Building on our advantages, this is an ambitious plan which will transform Stir­ling into an economic and cultural power­house to create investment opportunities that will put Stirling firmly on the busi­ness map. It will also enhance its ability to respond to opportunities, which will allow us to make things happen much quicker.”

The plan aims to make Scotland’s ancient capital a Digital Hub, nurturing product development and positioning Stirling as a leader in digital technologies. By creating new networks for collabora­tion between industry, academia and those in the e-commerce industry, the vision is that this will become a centre of activity nurturing small business development. It will also encourage and assist small busi­ness development.

A knowledge hub will also be devel­oped under the bold new plans with state-of-the-art business incubation space, in order to address a shortage of office space for incubating and growing the SME sector. This hub will also link closely with higher and further education institutes, as well as building on the vibrant cultural scene with a revitalised cultural quarter, which will be a hub for arts and creative industries.

The vision also includes a modern market space to showcase Stirling’s already thriving food and drink sector, plus it out­lines plans for a new civic and creative centre which will provide conference space and will also act as a platform for creative industry projects.

And this state-of-the-art blueprint embraces the ancient capital’s stunning heritage with plans for a new city parkland in the shadow of Stirling Castle which will act as a new gateway to the city and pro­vide an area for events, public art, leisure and recreation.

Using all of the city’s great attributes in unison, from heritage to business, will boost the city’s standing around the world and such projects will be enhanced by Stirling’s work with the Alliance.

Carol Beattie added: “There’s a great eagerness from companies, investors and local businesses to support the physical development of the city through collabo­rative working.

“And the collaborative benefit of Stirling being part of the Scottish Cities Alliance means we can benefit from the sharing of information, as well as attend events such as MIPIM where we can promote Stirling to a worldwide investor audience.

“Stirling is a small city but it has a prime location at the heart of Scotland and it is well connected, served by excellent road and rail links which capitalise on this asset. And that is a great attraction for businesses making the city an ideal choice for investors and developers, as well as tourism which generates millions for the economy annually.”

Indeed, Stirling with its central loca­tion and great connectivity to Glasgow and Edinburgh, takes in 2.5 million people within 60 minutes of Stirling. The Alli­ance commissioned a feasibility study to review the impacts of Stirling working more closely with Glasgow and Edinburgh as part of an infrastructure funding model, which has the potential to have an impact on policy in areas such as transport, hous­ing, sports and education.

Chair of the Scottish Cities Alliance, Councillor Andrew Burns, said: “As Stir­ling demonstrates so well, there are huge benefits to be gained through partnership working between the seven cities.

“The cities are learning and grow­ing stronger through their collaboration through the Scottish Cities Alliance and by using this shared knowledge, Stirling can achieve its goal to be an economic and cultural powerhouse.

“I am sure that, thanks to our ongoing collaboration and, in particular, to the development of the Scottish Cities Alli­ance’s £10 billion Investment Prospectus, we can look forward to attracting major investments from across the globe.”

Visit scottishcities.org/prospectus