Slides available from Future of Town Centres

Future of Town CentresAll slides from the Future of Town Centres conference, organised by Place North West in partnership with Hill Dickinson and Civic Engineers, can now be viewed and downloaded online.

See links to slideshows below

Eight speakers addressed the sold-out room of 100 delegates at the full-day conference in City Tower, Manchester.

Simon Bedford, partner at Deloitte Real Estate, and Stephen O'Malley, director of Civic Engineers, set the scene with presentations on design and use of town centres. Bedford said positive examples of diversification and activity such as the popular market for teenagers in Stockport, and new college facilities in Wigan and Ashton centres needed to be copied elsewhere.

O'Malley described the dominance of cars in town and city centres in the past 50 years and said good urban planning in the future would be about more frequent shorter journeys by other modes of transport. Centres need poetry and creativity to make them pleasurable places to be, and planning is not just about science, he said. The higher footfall encouraged by more varied streetscapes can create higher rental values, greater business rate revenue and stop destinations from declining.

Nick Sewell, director of NewRiver Retail, which owns two-dozen shopping centres around the UK and aims to double its portfolio to £1bn in the next few years, explained the young REIT's story so far and its asset management approach. Low zone A rents, importance of public realm and convenience shopping based around food and value goods, are central to NRR's plan.

Mike Horner, regional director of Muse Developments, told the audience how he was working with local authorities in Chester, Blackpool, Stockport and elsewhere to unlock major developments.

Keith Davies closed proceedings with a run through his priorities as regeneration director of Bolton Council and lead officer to AGMA on Greater Manchester town centres. A new fund could be established to support the future investment in GM town centres, he said. The eight centres around the M60 pooled resources to work on joint plans around parking, marketing and lobbying over business rate relief.

To view these speakers' and others' slides click on the links below, which will take you to the Place North West section in Slideshare. If you encounter any problems please contact paul.unger@placenorthwest.co.uk

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