Campbeltown wins Scotland’s most improved place

Campbeltown has won Scotland’s most improved place in the 2020 SURF Awards.

The award recognises best practice in community regeneration and is the result of an extensive regeneration programme by Argyll and Bute Council and its key partners. 

The appearance and vibrancy of Campbeltown’s town centre has been significantly improved with investment of £13 million to repair over 40 buildings, improve shopfronts and deliver parallel projects. They include: 

  • Improved community facilities including the renovated cinema and Town Hall
  • Over 2,000m2 of vacant/derelict floorspace brought back into use;
  • Shopfront Improvement Scheme leading to a number of new businesses opening
  • Full repair of 11 key tenement buildings containing 58 flats and 26 commercial units, helping bring many vacant units back into use;
  • Transformation of a derelict building into a community backpackers hostel
  • Restoration of Campbeltown Cross in partnership with Community Council

Partnership working with Housing Services has also seen £3 million of grants awarded to over 70 private owners for repairs to multi-ownership tenements.

External funders for the project include; Historic Environment Scotland; Heritage Lottery, National Lottery, Argyll and the Islands Leader and many others.

Councillor Alastair Redman, Policy Lead for Business, Regeneration and Commercial Development:

“We are thrilled to accept the SURF award on behalf of all the hard work that has gone into the transformation of Campbeltown town centre. Regenerating the town has been a collaborative approach working with the community, businesses and private and public sectors. We would like to thank everyone involved in the project.

"Area regeneration investment takes time to see results emerge that make a real difference to quality of place that is so important for local people and the wider economy.  This investment in Campbeltown has been done over a period of fifteen years and it is great to see it being recognised nationally with awards such as SURF.  The journey is not over however as more needs to be done to ensure we can add to the regeneration of the town.

"There are still obvious challenges as we continue to live under lockdown restrictions but we hope the town will continue to thrive when those restrictions lift.

"As a council, we are committed to attracting people to live and work in Argyll and Bute. We can already see the benefits the investment has made as new businesses open and people choose to settle here. The award recognises the effort and commitment that has gone into the project and we are delighted to see such positive signs of recovery for our local economy. ”

Andy Milne, Chief Executive of SURF, said: “The SURF Awards have been a personal regenerative highlight in my 18 years with SURF. Real community regeneration is always challenging, perhaps now more than ever, but still, this and every year it is uplifting to see what can be achieved when people act together for the common good.”

A film promoting the regeneration of Campbeltown is available to watch on the council website Celebrating CARS funding (

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