Retailers are facing a serious threat from a breakdown in the property pipeline unless the private and public sectors take a more collaborative approach to planning, the British Council of Shopping Centres has told a group of MPs.
Private developers and local authorities need to do more to work together to “unblock” the pipeline, the BCSC said in its response to a report by the All Party Urban Development Group.
Charles Miller, partner at property agency King Sturge, who was involved in producing the BCSC’s response, said: “We’ve got to come up with innovative solutions to kick-start development. There’s got to be a lot more positive intervention from the public sector. It’s going to be very challenging for retailers to grow their businesses because there will be limited opportunities.”
The BCSC has identified key areas where the planning process could be improved to kick-start similar schemes that are in danger of being put on hold.
These include the restructuring of Section 106 agreements (in which developers are required to carry out additional civic projects), rates holidays for new schemes that have struggled with lettings and greater cost-efficiency in the process of selecting development partners.
A number of town centre regeneration projects have been delayed as a result of the devastating effects of the economic climate on private developers and construction companies.
These include Trinity Walk in Wakefield, where construction has halted since the partnership behind the project went into administration last November, and Westfield’s Broadmarsh scheme in Nottingham, which has been delayed by at least a further two years.