Move Commercial – issue number 35Digital Manager
MIXING UP THE TOWN
Euan Blake, Account Director, Innesco
Across Britain, towns are having a regeneration revival and with the help of private sector funding, some Council’s are clearly seeing the benefits for future schemes to be more sympathetic to the needs of the local community and opting for mixed use in central locations.
This in turn has seen planning regulations relaxed and encouragement to convert town centre commercial space to residential bringing people back to the heart of the town after all, without people towns don’t function.
It is also understandable that as the digital world integrates with our daily lives and technology plays more of a part in our behaviour, the way we as humans use towns and cities is changing.
Society’s constant connection to the internet also delivers endless online shopping opportunities so town centre high streets now have the ultimate battle to get the mix of retail, food and leisure correct.
The Government’s ‘Town Centre First’ policy has been acknowledged by almost every stakeholder in regeneration as the key priority to a town’s healthy economic future. Development projects need to consider people before profits, and town centres need to be places to live, work and enjoy life with vibrant evening economies.
It is my opinion that more pressure and penalties should therefore be put on those Councils across the UK that continue to ignore Town Centre First and approve planning applications for out-of-town developments ahead of viable town centre schemes.
Simply put, the current ‘sequential testing’ of planning applications simply isn’t enough to turn the heads of those wishing to capitalise on fringe sites. If we truly want prosperous futures for our ailing town centres we must consider the core first with an aim to build sustainable communities whilst providing for their needs through collaborative mixed use projects.