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£10 million funding boost for Scotland’s historic towns and cities

19 November 2013

Communities across Scotland are set to benefit from the latest round of Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS) funding announced today.

The £10 million was outlined by Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs during her keynote speech at the Built Environment Forum Scotland (BEFS) Annual Congress in Linlithgow.

This is the sixth round of CARS funding, with £26 million having been invested by the Scottish Government in projects across Scotland since the first grants were made in 2007. Applications for this round will open early in the new year with a closing date of 31 August 2014.

CARS specifically targets conservation areas with social and economic disadvantages that make it difficult to attract investment in sustainable regeneration. The scheme assists these  areas through channelling funding towards opportunities to enhance sustainable economic growth and help support projects that develop an area’s sense of place.

Ms Hyslop told BEFS delegates that the scheme has clearly demonstrated it is a catalyst to attract funding from other sources. In the scheme’s first year, £6.7 million was invested through CARS, delivering improvements to 28,000 sq m of public realm, and the rejuvenation and reuse of 15,000 sq m of vacant floor space. This investment attracted a further £18.6 million from other sources – a leverage of extra funding of 3 to 1.

The Cabinet Secretary said: “This investment will build on the considerable benefits that CARS is already delivering for communities across Scotland since 2007. It will help reinvigorate our villages, towns and cities and give people a sense of place and pride in their surroundings.

“Investment in our historic environment is key to contributing to an improved quality of life for many people across Scotland. Not only does CARS breathe new life into our communities it is instrumental in stimulating economic growth through new employment opportunities and promoting traditional skills as well as boosting the local tourism industry.”  

Ms Hyslop added: “Today’s announcement demonstrates that we are committed to delivering for Scotland’s historic environment and placing it at the heart of our communities.”

Cllr Stephen Hagan, COSLA spokesperson for Development Economy & Sustainability commented: “COSLA welcomes the announcement of a new round of funding for CARS and the support it gives to regeneration of our historic areas. Since 2007, a large number of communities across Scotland have already benefitted from this funding stream and I look forward to seeing the impact this latest investment will help deliver.”

John Pelan, Director of the Built Environment Forum Scotland said: “BEFS welcomes the news of the Scottish Government’s continued support for CARS which our Small Towns Initiative Report highlighted as playing an important role in the regeneration of places such as Campbeltown, Kilsyth and Stornoway. BEFS is pleased that the Cabinet Secretary continues to focus on the issue of ‘mainstreaming’ the historic environment  as an integral part of the fabric of Scottish society and welcomes her participation in its Annual Congress.”

CARS is open to Local and National Park Authorities, community groups and other third sector organisations delivering multi-funded projects. The funding can be utilised for a number of purposes from priority repairs and small grants to homeowners and retailers, to providing traditional craft training opportunities.

Today’s funding announcement comes on the back of an independent analysis of Historic Scotland’s investment across all its funding streams between 2007-12. The analysis shows that Historic Scotland’s financial support has generated an additional £166 million of investment in the historic environment. The full independent analysis of the Historic Scotland’s grant streams can be viewed here

For further information on the CARS scheme and to view previous funding recipients visit our website.

Notes for editors:

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.

  • 2013 is the Year of Natural Scotland, inspiring our people and our visitors to celebrate Scotland’s outstanding natural beauty, landscapes and biodiversity as Scotland prepares to welcome the world in 2014 and beyond. Find out more about Scotland’s outstanding natural beauty at

Follow Historic Scotland:
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For further information

John MacNeil
Media Relations Manager
Communications and Media
0131 668 8714 or 07854 366 827