The creation of town centre ”investment zones” is the latest plan to transform ailing high streets, as data shows footfall slumped again in December.
The Fragmented Ownership Group, which is made up of property experts and investors, argued in its report, The Town Centre Investment Zones, that pooling property assets into one investment vehicle would allow them to be managed and curated, ultimately rejuvenating high streets across the UK.
Its research carried out by Peter Brett Associates with Bond Dickinson and Citi Centric cites Regent Street and Marylebone High Street in London as examples of where asset management has led to investment and an improved customer experience.
It has undertaken three feasibility studies in Dartford, Weston-Super-Mare and Melton Mowbray to support its claims.
Published this week, the report coincided with British Retail Consortium and research firm Springboard’s latest figures, which showed that high street footfall declined by 4% in December year on year – a bigger drop than the three-month average of 2.9% and the sharpest fall since November 2014.
The Fragmented Ownership Group called for government to provide further financial support to examine how funding prototypes for the pilots might work and seeks support from the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Treasury.
“Many town centres are currently focused on an outmoded retail that needs substantial structural change,” said Liz Peace, chair of the Fragmented Ownership Group.
“Resurrecting their fortunes will not be achieved simply by the superficial and largely cosmetic measures that have so far been applied. This new and more fundamental approach, using proper asset management techniques, offers us the best and maybe the only, hope of making lasting and beneficial change.”