Private developers & property owners must act now to save UK’s failing high streets – new report

Below is a message written by and sent on behalf of Power to Change:

Today, Power to Change and the London School of Economics and Political Science has published a new report – A High Street Revolution: How private developers can support the community takeover of our town centres. It shows that the private sector has an important role to play in responding to the new challenges and opportunities facing the UK’s beleaguered high streets, which were in decline before the Covid-19 pandemic but have now reached a perilous tipping point.

It calls on private property developers, high street property owners, businesses, and real estate investment funds (REITs) to take an active role in working with local communities to find solutions for the UK’s high streets if these spaces are to survive, and if their interests are to be protected.

The report is available to download from Power to Change’s website. You can read the full press information here. Please help us share this report through your networks and across you social media channels using #TakeBackTheHighStreet, and please remember to tag @peoplesbiz.

The report

The report identifies five ways in which private sector developers can successfully repurpose retail space and are creating opportunities to introduce new uses that better meet community needs. These include:

  • Community hubs in shopping centres – Repurposing space to provide facilities that meet community needs. Consciously involving community organisations and community businesses in reimagining shopping centre spaces helps ensure a more diverse mix of uses to meet community needs while attracting a wider range of visitors to both the shopping centre and community hub.
  • Meanwhile use of space – Can be an effective entry point for community businesses and groups, and a useful stepping-stone on the journey towards securing permanent premises. Successful businesses can then move on to trade independently from their own premises on the high street, which can contribute to the wider health and sustainability of the town centre.
  • Introducing more flexible, turnover-based leases – For community businesses, social and other start-up enterprises, the greater flexibility enables them to adapt, steadily grow their activities and ultimately achieve long-term sustainability.
  • Greater collaboration and partnership working – Only by working together and forming partnerships across public and private sectors, sharing expertise and resources, can the longer-term vision for a viable civic high street be achieved.