Town centre living: Primrose Street, Alloa

Primrose Street, Alloa historic Spiers Centre connection
Published: 17/02/2023

Award-winning Primrose Street development meets the needs of an ageing population and provides positive impact on the surrounding area.

A quick interview with Grant Baxter, Clackmannanshire Principle Placemaking Officer

The Primrose Street development is part of the town centre redevelopment plans for Alloa. With an emphasis on re-introducing housing to the town centre, the development reinstates the historical street pattern and the variety of forms, building lines and materials add to the positive impact to the surrounding area.

By re introducing housing to the vacant town centre, the development, which provides 60 one-and two-bedroom flats, is now home to an intergenerational living environment within Alloa’s heart. 

Not only does it provide a housing solution that meets the needs of a local ageing population and maximise the time they can remain within their own homes, it has also been a catalyst for regeneration and further improvements around the town centre.

The new housing connects extremely well to existing facilities, in particular with the neighbouring historical Speirs Centre whose entrance is directly opposite, offering a wealth of community resources such as the library, community archives and facilities to support residents and the wider community  There is also a direct connection to shopping with local shops on its doorstep and supermarkets close at hand.  Transport links are nearby including the train station.

Primrose Street Alloa public space outside entrance
A new public space has been formed between the entrances to the Primrose Street housing and the Speirs Centre directly opposite
Primrose Street Alloa showing new Spier Center
The housing runs alongside the new Speirs Centre with streetscape improvements forming an improved route into town

Living Alloa

The development was the starting point of ‘Living Alloa’, an initiative by Clackmannanshire Council, along with the Business Improvement District (BID) body Alloa First and Clackmannashire Third Sector Interface (CTSI), the local third sector body to deliver improvements to the town centre. 

Identifying simple but effective design measures

Early (pre-planning) engagement of health and social care professionals and dementia care specialists helped to identify simple but effective design measures to benefit elderly residents and those with dementia.

Kingdom Housing and Clackmannanshire Council worked collaboratively with our team alongside care and dementia experts to help future-proof the site by incorporating age-friendly design elements such as mobility scooter charging points and wide cloister deck access to the dual aspect flats. Early (pre-planning) engagement of health and social care professionals and dementia care specialists helped to identify simple but effective design measures to benefit elderly residents and those with dementia.

Primrose Street, Alloa showing balconies
The generous external balconies that offer routes through and ouside spaces at front doors
Primorose Street, Alloa floor level signage
The levels are clearly marked with different images to allow easy way finding

Place Standard: catalyst for change

Two stages of Place Standard work took place to inform the proposals. The first stage (supported by ourselves and the Scottish Government) tested requirements for the town centre. The second stage was a major community consultation in early 2019, led by the council and Alloa First, and facilitated by Clackmannanshire Third Sector Interface (CTSI).

These events were catalysts for change including new multi-generational housing, a new town centre masterplan, local infrastructure improvements, and service planning including care in the community.

This multi-sectoral Place Standard exercise helped forge closer collaboration and ongoing partnerships between local authorities, business groups and third-sector stakeholders.

Combined with a robust community engagement, this collaborative partnership approach helped unlock funding for town centre improvements such as renewed streetscape, an active travel hub, key road crossings and new social spaces.

Primrose Street, Alloa community hub
The old public toilets have been repurposed into a new community active travel hub
Primrose Street, Allo mural showing bird
Wee goldcrest mural by Ross Hastie and Michael Corr. Credit: Clackmannanshire Council

The initial decision to bring the housing to our design workshop, followed by two stages of Place Standard engagement, led ultimately to a completely different take, not only on the delivery of the housing within the red line boundary but on the whole approach to the town centre.

The holistic nature of the Place Standard tool and the relevant and engaging nature of the themes, combined with external, non-partisan facilitation by ourselves and the Scottish Government, opened up the conversation about what is a small but important housing site into a shared vision for town centre regeneration.

“For the first stage, having the right people round the table early on was key: health, social care and dementia professionals were able to explain simple but crucial measures to transform the new development from acceptable to exceptional in living terms. We’ve learned that dementia-friendly design principles need not involve bespoke or expensive interventions – it is often about following good street design principles”.


Grant Baxter, Principal Placemaking Officer, Development Quality, Clackmannanshire Council

Collaborative action

Following a design workshop with our team at Architecture and Design Scotland, the council recognised that an improvement of local services and infrastructure was required alongside the new housing to meet the needs of elderly residents.

By the end of the professional focus group, those participants previously unfamiliar with one another’s work had evolved a new and broadly shared sense of the task at hand, inspired to go forward and take collaborative action.

Award winning

The Primrose Street project was awarded the 2022 Scotland Loves Local Town Centre Living Award. It formed part of ‘Living Alloa’ which was the winner of the 2022 SURF Awards in the ‘Improving Scotland’s Places’ category.

Both these wins demonstrate how a place-based approach moved away from a quick physical makeover in favour of a “forever” project that is rooted in delivering positive long-term outcomes for the people and the plac

Proposals were developed by the Council in partnership with Kingdom Housing Association.

Contractor – Campion Homes Ltd.

Architect – Bracewell Stirling Consulting

Landscape Architects - RaeburnFarquharBowen

Employer’s Agent – Brown & Wallace

Engineer – Curtins Consulting

Principal Designer – Brown & Wallace


A partnership approach to the funding of the housing based project has been achieved, with funding provided through;

●        Scottish Government; investment subsidy at £4,895,928 
●        Private Finance; raised by Kingdom Housing associated at £3,092,725 
●        Addition Grant Subsidy; provided by Clackmannanshire Council at £990,000