BUILDING BACK OUR TOWNS
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the problem, accelerating the move towards online shopping and significantly reducing footfall and activity which has resulted in the loss of occupiers and an increase in vacant space on a scale that has never been seen before.
The challenge of building back our town centres and high streets, along with our economy, has become more urgent than ever but must be planned carefully. There is an over supply of retail floorspace in the UK, but each town centre is unique in terms of its catchment spend and surrounding competition. A host of new anchor concepts are emerging which can drive centres forward but will still need a critical mass of retail and leisure floorspace to thrive.
The pandemic has also resulted in a stronger recognition of the importance of local amenities, access to green space, leisure and culture and a move towards different working practices which also presents opportunities for town centres.
Local councils are continuing to invest in their town and city centres, for both regeneration and investment purposes, and this creates an opportunity to repurpose and redesign them to be more suitable for current ways of living, and to better support residents and the local economy. We recognise the constraints on resources that Councils are facing, both in terms of personnel and financial resources, and we can help identify where to target those limited resources and provide additional support where required. We are also able to advise on the availability of different funding sources and assist in applications for them.
The private sector can and should also take a proactive approach, repositioning and repurposing its assets to respond to changing consumer behaviours and market demand. In collaboration with our agency teams, we provide market facing and deliverable development advice to redefine assets and ensure they are fit for the future. We are also highly experienced in the creation of strategic partnerships between the private and public sectors and how these partnerships can work to unlock development.
Our team has the skills and experience to assist clients in responding to the challenges urban areas are facing. We help our clients take a proactive approach by redefining their development strategies, creating successful partnerships and repositioning individual assets. Working closely with other teams across the business, we are able to guide clients through the development process from concept to completion.