As director of Leisure and Recreation, Alan introduced Inverness and surrounding villages to the Beautiful Scotland in Bloom competition. This focused on engaging local community groups and organisations in tidying up the city centre and surrounding environment. The first part of this initiative was to introduce hanging baskets and floral containers to the main streets in Inverness. Initially there was a lot of resistance from local traders and businesses to contribute towards the funding and a partnership was created with the management of the Eastgate Shopping Centre to create the Inverness project.
The Inverness project was based on a philosophy, “Helping Inverness to help itself.” Very quickly, more than two hundred local companies and businesses signed up to become members of the Inverness project and the greening of the city centre was delivered. The outcome of this was that the city won Beautiful Scotland in Bloom and Britain in Bloom awards in successive years. This project ran successfully for fifteen years before being merged into the Inverness Business Improvement District.