UK town centres are a huge opportunity for the real estate sector

Revo, the organisation that represents all stakeholders in the £360 billion UK retail property sector, is attending MIPIM 2019 to encourage collaboration and investment to reposition UK town centres.

Ed Cooke, Chief Executive at Revo, has been one of the UK’s leading champions of town centres since becoming a founding member of the Future High Street Forum, a Government Taskforce established in 2012.

Revo brings together the three key constituents in town centres – property owners, retailers and local authorities – and has led calls for a reform of the UK business rates system and changes to planning policy to allow places to adapt to the structural changes in retail and urban living.

Ed is among the panellists at the session Town Centres 2050 (Wednesday, 1430 – 1500, London Stand) which will look at the future prospects for town centres, and what the real estate industry should do to ensure these places relevant for generations to come.

Ed Cooke said: “The UK is the world’s most advanced retail market, and the rise of ecommerce has left many town centres with an oversupply of physical space. “This has been exacerbated by business rates, a UK tax on commercial property, which has meant physical stores have become unviable in many locations. The challenge is to adapt these places for a new purpose, introducing workspace, homes, community amenities and enhanced public realm to ensure they remain the heart of communities.

“Town centres represent a huge opportunity for the real estate sector. Urbanisation is a global phenomenon and people will continue to be drawn to these locations, if we work together to get this adaptation right.”

Ed will be joined by Steve Eccles, Project Director at First Base, which specialises in urban regeneration and is leading several town centre projects in the UK.

Steve said: “Town centre regeneration is about placemaking and curating the right mix of uses that respond to the needs and wants of the local demographic. Homes are an important part of this mix, but in many locations we see creative workspace and co-working as an anchor that can draw people back to high streets and support the local economy. Collaboration is key and we look forward to sharing ideas over the course of the week.”