WOKING has been named among Britain’s leading lights for town centre regeneration.
A glowing report hailing nine local authorities from across the UK has recently been released by the British Council of Shopping Centres, which is the membership body for the retail property industry.
The ‘clear conclusion’ is that councils who produce strong local plans, are prepared to accept some of the risk of development, and work proactively and positively with the private sector, secure greater levels of investment, bringing about sustainable development and civic vitality.
Woking has undergone a huge transformation in recent years, with the Jubilee Square town centre redevelopment alone costing the council £7.8 million.
Chief Executive of BCSC John Coyne, said: “Development viability and local leadership are critical factors when retail property developers make investment decisions.
“As such, investors need assurance from a proactive and engaged local authority partner if they are to be willing to commit investing time and money into complex regeneration schemes.
“The benefits that such pro-activity and engagement can bring are perfectly presented in this report, and the creativity and commitment offered by the local authorities selected is evident.”
Mark Bourgeois, Senior Vice President of BCSC and Executive Director of Capital & Regional Plc, added: “The examples presented show how positive, partnership-led regeneration can dramatically enhance a local area and revitalise communities.
“Through this debate and in sharing this research publicly we hope to encourage the development of clear local plans and invite local authorities to engage and work alongside the private sector to bring about positive change in their areas.”
WHO TOPS THE BILL?
Bradford Metropolitan District Council City Park Bradford
Oldham Council The Old Town Hall at Parliament Square
Sheffield City Council Sheffield City Market
Woking Borough Council Woking Shopping
Walsall Council Old Square Walsall
Newport City Council Friars Walk
Ealing Borough Council Ealing Film Quarter
Hounslow Council Hounslow High Street Quarter
Dacorum Borough Council Hemel Hempstead Town Centre