Conference Report: New retail opportunities: the key to regeneration in town centres? - a seminar hosted by John Lewis
|View the Speakers' Presentations here.|
A high level meeting between representatives of Local Authorities, a leading retailer and representative of the Government Office took place on 2 April to discuss the impact of the expected Planning Policy Statements on our high streets.John Aldworth, from GOSE, said: "Now is the ideal time to take forward the Planning White Paper commitment to integrate and streamline all substantive current and emerging national planning policy on economic development:
Ian Anderson of CB Richard Ellis welcomed the single new document 'Planning for Prosperity' and made the point that there is still only 40% Retail within Town Centres / Edge of Town Centres and only 30% within Town Centres. The new regime, he added, is expected to encourage:
There will, he said, be a move towards "greater 'sophistication' (and) away from the 'tick box' procedure of current approach, with devolution & empowerment of LPAs."
Delegates at the event, hosted by the John Lewis Partnership, also agreed that there was a need for greater information exchange between practitioners in the public and private sectors long before specific projects are even considered. A better understanding of each other's needs would help stakeholders to reach agreement by which all parties achieve the best outcome. Mark Price, Managing Director of Waitrose, explained the company's long term commitment to community development and desire to work more closely with LPAs to achieve this.
If development is to reach the highest quality, which is what we should expect in historic towns - whether measuring design, economic or sustainability targets - then compromise may be essential, but this should not mean compromising the principles of good practice. HTF would welcome a new PPS and accompanying guidance which will help its Members to achieve these aims. See 'Back in the Easy Chair' for the Chair's assessment of the event.