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LGA PUSHES FOR TOWN CENTRE IMPROVEMENT

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LGA economic regeneration chiefs are calling on the government to place local authorities at the heart of reviving ...
LGA economic regeneration chiefs are calling on the government to place local authorities at the heart of reviving town centres.

The new Local Government Bill will introduce powers for local authorities to promote the social, economic and environmental well-being of their areas.

But further government action is needed to enable local authorities to deliver the highest standards possible in town centre regeneration:

- A supportive framework in the Local Government Bill to create the conditions for local authority, community and business partnerships

- More effective processes for the implementation of town centre strategies

Cllr Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, chairman of the LGA's environment and regeneration eExecutive, said: 'Local authorities are best placed to lead on the economic regeneration of our town and city centres.

'But we will need effective powers and planning from central government if we are to do so. Local authorities must work with the private sector and be able to raise resources for investment in town centres.

'We also need a strong planning role to create vibrant, alive and attractive town centres which must have good access and be safe, providing quality retail leisure, recreational and community facilities. These must both enhance their environment and reflect local identity.'

NOTES

1) The LGA and the National Retail Planning Forum held a joint conference on 29 February 2000 on regenerating town centres. Key issues for discussion were:

- To remove the provision of Statutory Undertakers, Crown land and similar bodies

- Introduce Town Improvement Zones as recommended in the Urban Task Force report

- Remove VAT on the conversion of redundant buildings to encourage their redevelopment

- Progress its proposals for reducing rating burdens on small businesses

2) The NRPF also used the conference to launch three reports, 'Sequential Testing for Retail Development', 'What makes a successful Shopping Centre Scheme' and 'Town Centre Viability and Vitality'. See http://www.nrpf.org/ for details.

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