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Keith Davies, Future of Town Centres


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Director of Development & Regeneration at Bolton Council with the latest on the Greater Manchester Town Centre Strategy and Bolton's own regeneration priorities

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Keith Davies, Future of Town Centres

  1. 1. A developer’s perspective Mike Horner Regional Director Muse Developments
  3. 3. Greater Manchester Town Centres Review
  4. 4. GM Town Centres Project • BLC’s Town Centre Study 2010 identified factors causing reduced economic contribution of principal town centres • Out of town development • Prominence of regional centre • Decline in quality of the retail offer • Decline in attraction for office/commercial devt • Decline in Leisure attractions • Increasing dependence on public sector for investment and development
  5. 5. Project Aims • Analysing the challenges facing each town centre – bad everywhere • Constructive challenge between local decision makers and external reviewers – is strategy right? • Recommend key strategic interventions • Identify schemes that could be supported by GMIF • Identify common themes/issues that can be dealt with at a GM level • Recognises different starting points of town centres
  6. 6. From changing consumer and retail trends
  7. 7. Navigating through “A Perfect Storm” • Economic environment generally • 2003 to 2012 e-commerce accounted for over half of retail growth – 2013 faster growth • Out of town shopping locally and regionally - forecasting 21% less retails space and 31% fewer stores demanded in town centres by 2020 • Business rates set at level when values were high and revaluation deferred • Rental values – distant landlords don’t know local market • Issues affecting towns and cities • Series of additional interventions needed
  8. 8. Different interventions required Places matter: places are different: • • • • • • • • • Bury – visitor destination, market, linking its attractions Stockport – a TC focus for the South Manchester office market Bolton – in town office and commercial focus for North GM Altrincham – modern market town, Cheshire catchment Wigan – discrete and self contained, potential to attract customers beyond GM Oldham – unique combination of Hotel Futures, theatre, cinema, Metrolink on high street, museum Rochdale – re-opening river, heritage themes Ashton – strength of markets and geographic location New and different uses are key - transformational thinking is critical
  9. 9. GM Recommendations and Next Steps • Implementation plans focusing on – Updating individual town centre strategies and bringing forward new investment propositions – Creation of new Investment Fund designed around needs of town centres – Marketing; car parking; business rates; client management of large multiples; etc – roll out of best practice in all town centres • GM Capacity and Skills – collective framework and actions to be developed • Governance – GMCA and LEP, Chief Executives • What view emerged from the independent review of Bolton’s strategy to restructure the town centre?
  10. 10. Case Study - Bolton
  11. 11. Bolton Town Centre • Town Centre Strategy developed based on driving office occupancy to town centre and consolidating offer in retail and civic core – less but better • Prioritised in Core Strategy and Economic Strategy - 2011 • Developments completed – Innovation Zone – next slide shows transformation • Bolton Transport Interchange/Bolton Market • Developers still progressing proposals for Merchants Quarter and Church Wharf • Successful campaigns and events • GM Town Centres Review endorsed Strategy but we have to do more
  12. 12. Bolton Knowledge Quarter 2009 Bolton Knowledge Quarter 2013
  14. 14. Design Review Artist Impressions 03
  16. 16. New Interventions • Feedback from stakeholders including Economic Partnership, Town Centre Leadership Board, Chamber • Build on strengths – University, Market, Culture, Brand • Leaving to the market is not an option • Council has set aside significant one off resources to support investment priorities • Supported by GM Implementation Plan • Capacity – regional agencies, Local Enterprise Partnership, GMP, private sector expertise • Developing a GM Town Centres Investment Fund – more flexible than GMIF • Town Centre Strategy report approved by Cabinet in June
  17. 17. Investment Priorities • Creating a stronger town centre office market – using Council stock and support new build Grade A – Actions • Consolidate retail core and attract independents with a Bolton identity • Further improvements to leisure and cultural offer – Octagon Theatre, Museum, Albert Halls, supporting new Cinema • Further improvements to the public realm – key gateways and routes e.g. from new transport interchange • Town Centre Living – HCA, sites to market, student accommodation
  18. 18. Investment Priorities • Developing the “Town Centre Campaign” – free parking, retailer offers, extending events, marketing • Acquisition of property and development sites • Developing funding/loan schemes to support unit refurbishment and fit out • Using Council property to attract occupiers • PSP joint venture investment scheme in place • Targeting uses – e.g. restaurants, independent retail • Trying to stop extension of alcohol only premises • Series of specific actions to deliver the strategy
  19. 19. Private Sector Engagement • Private sector partners on the Bolton Economic Partnership were asked to consider what they could do to support the interventions – – – – Can you direct business to the town centre? Will you support our work to engage agents and landlords? Can you help inform or critique our action plan? Market intelligence to help work up investment propositions? • Broad support for Strategy • Gateways a prominent issue
  20. 20. Town Centre Programme – Good Progress • Demolition programme for Interchange started 19th Nov – proposal to deliver commercial development moving forward • Bolton Market refurbishment almost complete • Independent Cinema report completed and demonstrates viability • Market Place Shopping Centre in new ownership - cinema and associated restaurant offer integral to plans • New 40,000 sq ft office development announced for Asons Solicitors • Crompton Place investment programme underway • Business Support scheme approved and now being promoted • Masterplan being developed with University re student accommodation • Strategic site acquisitions – terms agreed • Public realm improvements underway
  21. 21. Key Messages • Face the reality – town centres will never be what they were 30 years ago • Get jobs back in to the town centre – footfall • Look after your key retail partners – listen and deliver • Be very clear about your investment priorities – clarity and commitment • Intervene – leaving it to the market won’t work • Resources – pool what there is to make an impact • High level political and executive ownership • The market will respond – Bolton Market Place, Cinema proposals, new office development etc.
  22. 22. Views and Questions?