Town centres are, and always have been, at the heart of our communities and local economies but they have been in decline for some time. The way we shop, and the way communities use their town centres, have changed. This has led to huge pressures on, and challenges to, their role in being economic catalysts for the communities they serve.
The Levelling Up agenda, which has culminated in the recent White Paper with its 12 national missions, has brought town centre regeneration into major focus. It is shining a spotlight on those places that have suffered from declining investment and identifying those that should be ‘levelled up’ by once again creating a sense of place and pride in town centres across the UK.
However, in practice, it can be particularly tricky to deliver town centre regeneration successfully. The process can be complicated by a variety of challenges such as sites under multiple ownerships, alignment with human rights legislation, local opposition groups, access to funding and competing needs and objectives.
A crucial tool in facilitating “regeneration” is the use of compulsory purchase powers – an opinion supported by the new Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill which inserts the word (for clarity) into the key objective test for Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) in reference to England. This briefing note provides an overview on the role that CPO can play in levelling up our town centres.
If you would like more information on any of these topics, our expertise and knowledge in the sector, or to discuss a particular project, please do contact one of our team.
Town centres are at the heart of our local communities and economies but most are in serious decline. Although this deterioration is not exactly news, the government’s levelling-up agenda has recently brought the urgency of town centre regeneration into sharp focus.
Adam Rhead, Partner