Taking the lead on town centres

By Simone Hines | 05 June 2019

I’ve given some thought to the subject matter of my first column – keen to give everyone a break from the constant debate over Brexit and what may (or may not) happen with the Spending Review. I wanted to start with something more positive – the increasing role that local government needs to play in the regeneration of our town centres and kick-starting or continuing economic growth.

Alongside the day job of budgets and final accounts, the key issue that many s151s are grappling with is the future of our town centres and high streets. We know this requires a different approach and that, in order to survive and flourish long-term, town centres can no longer be just about retail. What we are finding, though, is that developers don’t want to take the risk in such projects so the local authority needs to step in and take the lead. This will often be for regeneration aims, but also wider commercial reasons – securing a future revenue stream from the resultant development, capital receipts from a sale or increased business rates growth.

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