The CBI and EC Harris have published a report outlining the measures needed from the public and private sectors to create economically vibrant towns and cities in the UK.
The report, The next regeneration: unlocking local growth, advocates partnership between government and the private sector in order to rejuvenate towns and cities across the UK and prepare them for the environmental, social and economic challenges of the future.
The CBI and EC Harris, a built asset consultant, said that local leadership is needed to realise its recommendations and create new homes, modern offices, good transport links and thriving high streets.
Though targeted primarily at retail regeneration, the report has significant implications for the construction and built environment sectors, and their supply chains if it s recommendations come to fruition.
One of the report’s most forthright recommendations is the implementation of a one year business rate holiday for firms moving into empty commercial property to help rejuvenate British high streets.
It also advocated planning changes to make it easier to convert empty shops into homes and for cafés and restaurants to introduce temporary outside seating.
Finally the CBI recommends using the public sector balance sheet to kick-start investment in building projects.
The report found that one in seven shops on the high street is now lying empty.
Katja Hall, CBI Chief Policy Director, said: “Too many grand regeneration projects of the past have failed to deliver and public money has been wasted.
“We want to ensure growth reaches all parts of the UK and that means co-ordinated action to rejuvenate our towns and cities.”
Tim Neal, UK Regional Leader, EC Harris, added: that the private sector has an important role to play in fostering growth in local economies and communities across the country.
“The Government is committed to the more effective pooling of built assets across the public sector,” he said. “But where deployed imaginatively, it is also possible to use those surplus assets to play a major role in making new regeneration viable for the developer community.”
Mr Neal said this cannot be achieve without “energetic, entrepreneurial and truly collaborative partnerships across public and private sector bodies.” The report highlights five key measures in order to deliver this.
- United and strategic local leadership
- Proactive planning allied with early private sector engagement
- Reformed business rates and business leadership to support high street rejuvenation.
- Alignment of national and local infrastructure plans
- Financing regeneration requires creative new approaches