Partnership working is central to town centre regeneration

Through our work with the Distressed Town Centre Property Taskforce and the resulting Beyond Retail report, with my seat on the Future High Streets Forum and in consultation with our members, it has become clearer than ever that partnership is central to town centre regeneration.

There are countless individual parties desperate to bring about positive change, but the missing link would seem to be the connections between them.

This is especially true of working relationships between public and private sector. Indeed, the Beyond Retail report noted closer engagement between the two among its recommendations. Success comes when local authorities have linked closely with the private sector to match their local vision with the realities of viability and funding.

This was true at Stanhope and British Land’s Old Market scheme, which opened in May, as well as for Land Securities’ Trinity Leeds, which opened in 2013.

Meaningful collaboration necessitates two-way dialogue. To that end, at this year’s event at Olympia, we bring together public sector figures looking at town and city centre management and development from all perspectives. MP for Gloucester, Richard Graham will be joined by Charlie Parker, Chief Executive of Westminster City Council; Sir Peter Soulsby, the Mayor of Leicester; Ros Morgan of Kingston First and Andrew Carter from Centre for Cities to discuss what can be achieved with greater powers devolved to local authorities, but budgets shaved back so markedly.

As we all know, although the Localism Act has offered greater powers locally, there remain notable national level challenges, not least a business rates system that is not fit for purpose. At BCSC 2014, you will hear from the newly appointed High Streets Minister, Penny Mordaunt MP, and she will tell us whether she will be continuing where Brandon Lewis MP left off or whether there are new plans afoot for revitalising our town centres. We look forward to it, and to seeing you there.

Michael Green, chief executive of BCSC

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