Town Centres were front and centre of the Levelling-Up and Regeneration Bill and as a result, Revo asked its Repurposing and Regeneration Committee for its views on the emerging legislation. As a collective, the Committee welcomes Government commitments set out in the Queen’s speech but would challenge it to work closely with key organisations and businesses to ensure that its legislation truly brings the overdue focus on promoting economic growth and resilience, investment in the UK infrastructure, enhanced consumer digital and residential protections and will actively support legislation and resources that make a genuine and positive difference and continues to provide positive challenges in these areas.
– A few thoughts from the committee members –
We would have liked to hear more on the climate emergency, re-use, energy costs and renewables. There is very little there in terms of real commitments. The greater power and voice given to the community along with potential improvements to design through the reformed planning system is positive. There will need to be real assurances and funding in place to ensure that these changes are implemented and delivered correctly. The reforms should also go beyond simply meeting housing targets at the expense of well-designed homes. The Post Brexit and free trade agreements will also have an effect on the changing face of our high street. It is key that any trade and or employment bills and agreements that come through support sustainable growth
Nathmya Saffarini, Associate Principal, Callison RTKL
The draft bill landed the day after the Queen’s Speech and across its 10 parts it covers a wide range of matters ranging from planning, environmental outcomes and governance to devolution, regeneration, compulsory purchase and more. The detail is lacking in many of the provisions in the bill, with a focus on concepts rather than the detail, which will be set out in forthcoming regulations. The Government has committed to Levelling-Up the UK, growing the economy in the places that need it most and regenerating our towns and cities – giving people the opportunities they want, where they live. The intent of growing the economy in the places that need it most is clearly welcomed, and our town centres are a significant opportunity to be grasped, transforming under-used or vacant spaces for a range of uses to serve local economies and sustain vibrant economies.
Cat White, Director Planning, Turley
As a whole, the ambition of the Levelling Up Bill is broadly welcomed, but in some ways, it does feel a missed opportunity to address some of the other deeper factors impacting our town centres which can only be addressed in true public-private collaboration and with a clear plan and vision and by confronting the other thorny issue of local taxation. We await the secondary legislation with interest.
John Percy, Partner, Montagu Evans (Chair of Revo Repurposing and Regeneration Committee)