News Release - BEFS Annual Congress

19 Nov 2012

BEFS Annual Congress, Tuesday 20 November 2012.  9.45am – 4.00pm, Linlithgow Burgh Halls

The Built Environment Forum Scotland (BEFS) Annual Congress on Tuesday 20 November, will focus on the future of Scotland’s small towns, examining the threats they face, the opportunities they present and their potential to become economic drivers.

Up to 30% of the Scottish population live in small towns, and it is these that drive the rural economy. However, small towns are also home to many commuters and provide important economic and social contributions to urban areas. They are often centres of civic pride with strong heritage and cultural identities, but many also suffer from neglect and lack of investment.

The Congress is being held against a background of a raft of relevant Scottish Government policy reviews. These include: a new architecture and placemaking policy, the Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill, planning reform, the Town Centre Regeneration Strategy, and the historic environment policy review. The Congress will feature presentations from representatives of The Scottish Government, practitioners and consultants. The event will be of interest to anyone who is passionate about the future of Scotland’s towns.

Speakers and contributors include: 
Derek Mackay, Minister for Local Government & Planning,
Magnus Linklater, journalist and commentator
Malcolm Fraser, Chair of Scottish Government’s National Review of Town Centres
Julian Dobson, Urban Pollinators
Liz Davidson, Glasgow City Council
Douglas Wheeler, Douglas Wheeler Associates
Douglas Scott, Chair of Scottish Small Towns Group.

BEFS Chairman, Professor Emeritus Cliff Hague, who has visited a number of small towns in advance of the congress, said:

Scotland’s small towns are in a critical condition. The crisis has arrived quietly and is being faced with some stoicism. That’s the way Scotland’s small towns tend to do things. However, what is happening to our small towns should be of concern to the nation as a whole.  The BEFS Annual Congress will focus on some of the key issues and offer some positive suggestions for the future.

A copy of Professor Hague’s article, “Scotland’s small towns: a call to action” can be found here

For more information about the Congress contact John Pelan (, tel 0131 220 6241