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Disparate ownership is "major barrier" to redeveloping town centres

Fragmented ownership is a major barrier to reversing the decline of the UK’s town centres, according to new research.

According to a poll carried out by development and infrastructure consultancy Peter Brett Associates, 90% of senior retail figures do not think town centres and high streets can be saved while they remain in disparate ownership.

The report also found that 66% thought that the Portas Review had not gone far enough, and 85% felt that local authorities lacked the skills and political will to commitment to schemes.

The research has been launched to coincide with the launch of its PBA’s Town Centre Investment Management (TCIM) scheme, which is a fresh approach to bringing investment back to towns.  

It aims to makes investment in town centres attractive by allowing one investor to take control of a failing centre’s assets with existing landlords and investors able to sell at market rate or exchange their investment for a bond.

John Parmiter, the partner at PBA who created the TCIM concept, said: “What the poll showed very clearly is that fragmented ownership is a major barrier to change and that previous initiatives have not gone far enough. There is a real appetite in the retail industry for a fresh approach such as TCIM.”

Local authorities that identify the need for TCIM as part of their local plans will then be appointed an investor partner. TCIM powers will then be invoked and the investor will take ownership, typically through compulsory purchase, of a standing investment which offers real potential for improving rental values and yields.

In return, local authorities will be obliged to transform the performance of the centre through a tenant mix strategy, better management, and other initiatives.

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