The potential of retail to act as catalyst for wider regeneration of deprived areas cannot be ignored. Retail as a sector continues to grow and its potential to anchor and encourage regeneration cannot be overlooked. In 2004 the sector generated 6% of the UK’s GDP with one third of consumer spending going through shops. At the end of 2004, the total capital of UK commercial stock in retail was valued at over £64 billion. It is therefore a potentially powerful tool to assist in regenerating deprived areas, providing the stable economic base necessary for sustainable communities4. This research also indicates that returns on commercial property in urban regeneration areas equal or exceed those in traditional areass. Inward investment can also support neighbourhood renewal, going beyond the direct impact of employment and local access to goods and services.
The report draws out lessons learnt by the Underserved Markets pilot programme and examines the potential challenges and solutions to retail-led regeneration. It also contains guidance on the role that planning policy plays in retail-led regeneration.