Solo owners can revive failing towns

Simon Donohue

Ending the fragmented ownership of struggling town centres could provide a solution for the poor performance of some North West high streets, a report from Peter Brett Associates suggests.

Town Centre Investment Management – Tools For Rescuing Our High Streets argues that having a single owner in charge of an entire town centre brings benefits in terms of vision, tenant mix management, destination marketing and the ability to rapidly respond to market conditions.

Citing the performance of towns including Stockport, Blackpool, Altrincham and Warrington, PBA suggests that as long as town centres and high streets remain in fragmented ownership, much needed change cannot happen.

The TCIM model suggested by PBA, which has a Manchester office, involves investors taking ownership through compulsory purchase of a standing investment which offers real potential for improving rental values and yields.

In return, they will be obliged to transform the performance of the centre through a tenant mix strategy, better management, and other initiatives.
These changes would be very difficult to make without a single, overarching ownership, PBA argues.

The report is endorsed by Bob De Barr, retail property expert and past president of the British Council of Shopping Centres, who said: "TCIM gives us the chance to breathe new life into our failing towns and cities.

"By adapting and extending existing planning and development tools, we will be able to encourage institutional investment and high-level management back into the high street.

"To be successful, the approach needs the property industry to engage, to comment on this paper."

The TCIM report was produced with support from Berwin Leighton Paisner and FSP Retail.
It can be downloaded here .

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