Retail industry property body the British Council of Shopping Centres (BCSC) has written to the Government asking it to make a firm commitment to help get the retail property development pipeline moving again in its pre-budget report next week.
In a letter to Chancellor Alistair Darling, BCSC president Jeremy Collins laid out three key recommendations and called for the introduction of a UK variation of tax increment financing, a review of the Government’s “ineffective” policy on empty building rates and for support measures for local authorities to work with development partners.
Tax increment finance is a US-style mechanism for pump-priming regeneration projects, whereby public bodies can borrow against anticipated future revenues to fund infrastructure projects.
A joint research paper by BCSC and property consultancy Lunson Mitchenall found that credit restrictions had hindered investment – Union Square and St Enoch’s in Aberdeen and Glasgow respectively, and the extension to St David’s in Cardiff were the only major retail schemes delivered this year.
Lunson Mitchenall managing director Marcus Kilby said: “Without the help of national and local government, my fear is that when retailers are ready to expand again the development pipeline will be running several years behind, which could significantly impact retail growth.”