Page last updated at 11:35 GMT, Thursday, 15 January 2009

First 'Renaissance Town' launches

People tying red ribbons
Local people have been sent red ribbon to tie onto their favourite place

An East Renfrewshire village is set to become Scotland's first "Renaissance Town" in a bid to regenerate the local economy, services and environment.

Designers, urban planners and "top-flight thinkers" are visiting Neilston to identify areas for development.

They will be assisted by local people who have been encouraged to tie red ribbon onto their favourite places.

The initiative was launched on Thursday by Professor Alan Simpson of the Mackintosh School of Architecture.

He visited the village to outline the success of similar schemes in England.

"The Renaissance Towns initiative seeks to help bring about a revival," he said.

"At the heart of the renaissance of these towns is the fundamental belief in the value of local empowerment.

'Real collaboration'

"A need is recognised to more fully engage and empower local communities in order to release their latent skills, knowledge and desire to improve their towns as places to live, invest and visit."

Pauline Gallacher, of Neilston village regeneration group, said the project was more than just a "consultation" with local people.

"The approach has two key aspects - real collaboration at grass roots level, and a legacy of projects and plans that people can work together to deliver," she said.

"Neilston village regeneration group is leading the call to everyone to become fully involved in this exciting moment in the village's history. It really is about shaping the future of our place."

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