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SusSet Project

Part of EU INTERREG programme

'SUSTAINING SMALL EXPANDING TOWNS' (SusSET):

A PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN 12 TOWNS FROM

 (I)ABERDEENSHIRE, SCOTLAND

(II) VASTRA GOTALAND, SWEDEN

(III) POMERANIA REGION, POLAND,

(IV) WESTERN GREECE.

AN EU INTERREG IIIC FUNDED PROJECT

 

            Purpose

 

The SusSET project concerns finding the best 'coping strategies' for small traditional, yet expanding, towns.

 

            Reason

           

            Throughout the EU, many small traditional towns (5-50,000 pop) experience similar difficulties.  Expanding towns suffer from 'growing pains', such as land shortage for business, high car dependency, loss of traditional function, increasing dormitory and/or retirement status, shortage of community facilities, decrease in community origins and ownership, and often a crisis in identity.  Small towns are very often neglected in national policy, slipping through the net between 'cities' and 'remote rural'.  However, sometimes as much as 50% of national populations live in small towns, so their contribution to social cohesion, balanced development and community harmony across Europe is significant.

 

            Aim & objectives

 

            The project will seek to determine whether a single model strategy, or models, can exist to help such towns cope with future issues and to regain positions of strength. 

 

The project will also:

§         Seek to raise the profile and awareness of small towns

§         Examine effective mechanisms to ensure small town sustainability

§         Conduct a detailed study of key strategy elements (e.g. partnerships, community involvement, town centres, marketing and promotion, long term planning)

§         Explore location-specific issues (e.g. coast, rural hinterland and city region)

§         Examine the pros and cons of small town cluster working

 

            Participants

 

Project partners have been deliberately selected to give a balanced mix of EU nations with maximum diversity.  One nation from each of the four EU zones (north, south, east and west) are participating and twelve small towns have been 'hand picked' to suit certain characteristics:

 

Coastal

Rural Hinterland

City Proximity

Stonehaven, Scotland

Inverurie, Scotland

Ellon, Scotland

Stromstad, Sweden

Amal, Sweden

Kungalv, Sweden

Hel, Poland

Lebork, Poland

Puck, Poland

Messolongi, Greece

Pyrgos llias, Greece

Aigion, Greece

 

 

            Activities

 

The EU INTERREG IIIc programme offers opportunities that these towns cannot provide themselves, ie;.

§         Identification of common issues

§         Discussion around how each is dealing with EU policy

§         Compare starting positions

§         Share new experiences and ideas

§         Transfer and exchange information and best practice

§         Joint problem-solving

§         Jointly test or demonstrate ideas

§         Jointly analyse and evaluate actions

 

            Outputs

 

The key overall output for the project will be an indicative model(s) or 'best practice document' for small towns in managing change (e.g. a Small Expanding Town Strategy Advisory Guide).

 

            Impacts

 

            The principal impacts will be:

§         Improved knowledge, confidence and sustainability of participant towns and regions

§         Raised agenda for small towns in EU regions

§         Model strategy and/or best practice available to other EU towns

§         Stronger position for small towns to make their case for future EU assistance

 

            Linkages

 

The SusSET project partners are keen to extend the small town debate beyond the participant four nations and twelve towns.  The project will therefore engage with other INTERREG projects and EU bodies; for example, the 'Sustainable Town Centres Network', the Euro Association of  Town Centre Management,  the UK Action for Market Towns, and the Euro New Towns Platform.

 

            Budget

 

The EU has provided a grant of just under 1 million Euro for this project (50% funding for Scotland and Sweden, 75% for Poland and Greece).

 

            Contacts

 

            This project is being led by Aberdeenshire Town Partnership, Scotland.

 

 

 

 

Map showing Four Regions
Link to North Region Link to East Region Link to South Region Link to West Region

Link to Interreg3c website

Map of four regions

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