Industry acts on lack of guidance for assessing community value of regeneration proposals

Hot on the heels of DCLG’s announcement of the first ‘Portas Pilots’, this week The British Council of Shopping Centres (BCSC) and Business in the Community (BITC) have published the Retail Development Investment Framework. The framework has been produced in response to a lack of guidance for local councils and regeneration bodies in the evaluation of the potential retail-led private investment proposals.

 

Available to any local authority, community group or regeneration body, it acts as a sector-based application of Business in the Community’s Community Footprint, adapted specifically for the retail property industry, to facilitate a better understanding of the benefits investment can have on a place, its economy and its people.

 

In an era of localism and with a nationwide planning policy now laying down a ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’, leading industry body, BCSC and responsible business charity Business in the Community produced this free ‘toolkit’ as a means for local decision makers to properly assess the future value of potential retail-led investment within their communities.

 

Along with more transparent financial incentives, the framework maps the further benefits of community cohesion, social mobility, employment and public pride, to allow for a fuller review of the likely impact potential investment may have. Assessments are made based on key criteria that can be modified to address the specific issues of a given planning application.

 

Edward Cooke, Policy and Public Affairs Director at BCSC comments: “Retail property investment in places improves the quality of life of a community, creates jobs and wealth and adds to the economic vitality of an area. The aim of this Investment Framework is to provide the diverse range of stakeholders with an interest in retail property development with a straightforward tool to explore and explain these impacts This is of particular importance in the context of a new planning framework as local authorities embark on their journey towards understanding what sustainable development means for their location, and then develop plans that fit their interpretation.”

 

Bill Boler, Director of Physical Regeneration at Business in the Community said: “It is essential that we promote a better understanding of how investment can act as a catalyst to drive social and economic benefits at local level. This is why we have joined forces with BCSC to develop this free tool to address the current ambiguity around sustainable development and enable investors, local government and community groups to clearly manage and assess the socio-economic impacts of developments and build these into the planning process. The tool reinforces the mutually dependent considerations of economy, people and place and will, we hope, help local areas plan for future schemes that deliver tangible benefits for communities.”

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