A new taskforce comprising representatives across retail, property and banking has begun investigating ways of rejuvenating the UK’s high streets.
The Distressed Retail Property Taskforce has been set up following the government’s response to Mary Portas’ high street review. It intends to identify the property-related barriers to the vitality of town centres.
The findings from the research are aimed at “providing clear evidence and options on property-related issues that allow both central and local government to make informed decisions over priorities relating to the impact and vitality of town centres,” the taskforce said.
Member organisations, which straddle the public and private sectors, include the British Council of Shopping Centres (BCSC), British Property Federation (BPF), British Retail Consortium (BRC), Local Government Association (LGA), Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).
Mark Williams, chairman of Distressed Town Centre Taskforce and partner at asset managers, Hark Group, said: “The taskforce recognises that our high streets are going through a structural recalibration, rather than an economic cycle from which we will emerge over time.
“The wider economic, consumer and retail markets have moved at a pace that our high streets, and property in general, have not been fast enough to adapt. The reasons for this need careful examination as a way of understanding what the current property-related barriers to rejuvenation are, and what the range of options or solutions could be.”
Mark Prisk MP, minister for high streets, said: “No two towns will face the same challenges or require the same solutions but this work, led by the British Council of Shopping Centres, will give them an insight into what makes a town centre tick, and entices communities to support it.
“I look forward to seeing the conclusions that the group reaches, and how our network of over 300 town team partners and 27 portas pilots across the country can use their findings to breathe new life into their high streets.”