The vision for Haddington – what exactly is it?
How did it all start?
The Haddington Town Centre Vision project is a great example of people working together for the good of their town. It is the result of cooperation between four local community groups – Haddington Community Council, Haddington and District Amenity Society, Haddington Business Association and Haddington’s History Society. In 2011, these groups came together through a shared interest in the long term health of the town centre; Knox Academy subsequently joined the Vision team too. They agreed to promote the Vision project, and the Community Council and HADAS provided the first part of the funding.
The remaining financial support came from East Lothian Council and the people of the Haddington area. At that time, there was uncertainty over proposals for new supermarkets which were expected to have an impact on the town centre. (Planning permission was subsequently granted for a still to open Sainsbury’s store on the western edge of Haddington.) Meanwhile, some town centre businesses were facing tough times, due to economic conditions and the impact of online and out of town shopping. There were also concerns that Haddington’s historic buildings, streets and spaces were in need of attention.
A Vision for Haddington Town Centre
The report “A Vision for Haddington Town Centre – fulfilling our potential” was prepared and facilitated by Urban Animation in consultation with the people of Haddington, and local community groups. Published in July 2012, it focuses on five key themes:
- The need to make much more of Haddington’s place as East Lothian’s hub
- Its unique story as one of Scotland’s oldest towns
- Its abundance of attractive buildings, streets and spaces
- Its enterprising and creative people – not least its young people, and
- Its well established community spirit
From this, the report recommends eight key actions:
- Achieving the ambition of making Haddington Scotland’s best town square
- Developing an access strategy – to animate the town centre and generate more activity
- Bringing the town’s assets to life
- Re-using empty buildings
- Telling the world – marketing the town centre
- Setting up a Community Development Trust
- Getting local – with more local products on sale, and
- Enabling young people to engage with the vision – ‘enterprising youth’