The challenge with town centre assets remains. Given the cost-of-living crisis, strikes and wet weather, it’s never been more important to look at the challenges driving vacancies, values and the resulting impact on the community.
Retail areas are key to local authorities, they still form a major source of revenue, employment, leisure opportunities, community and cultural activities.
Local authorities are sometimes involved as long term shareholder or owner, particularly where assets are struggling to be economically viable and perhaps most importantly offer an opportunity for investment and regeneration in a civic centre, town or city.
Research from retail property organisation Revo in 2020 showed local authorities had invested over £770 million in shopping centres since 2016, accounting for almost one in five transactions. Safe to say this will likely be over a £1 billion now, invested to protect and improve local areas and generate future revenue.
Local authorities need to prepare robust strategies and delivery frameworks that consider multiple place based issues and opportunities, for instance housing need and reducing the need for private car use. This should be done collaboratively with private partners, public bodies and, of course, the local community.
Significant and rising upfront costs will mean long term returns on investment need to be considered. ESG footprints and governance models should also feature in early discussions.
Public-private joint ventures are often the preferred way to implement town centre regeneration. Even in an unpredictable economy, private organisations are looking for growth opportunities and ways to deliver positive change.
With new council leaders and political parties settling into many councils over the coming months, asset portfolio reviews are likely high on agenda given cuts in funding and pressures on council tax. Unique eco-systems of shared vision and expertise to generate partnerships and power growth are needed to solve the challenges.
Let’s hope UKREiiF provides good ecosystem conditions….We’ve certainly witnessed some positive joint working discussions on day 1.
You can take a look at some of the retail and town centre schemes we have advised on here, many of which involve finding unique solutions and the right conditions for all involved.
If you would like to meet us at UKREiiF we are at stand D32 in New Dock Hall. Come along and say hello, alternatively if you would like to arrange a meeting please email firstname.lastname@example.org