A Business in the Community and BCSC project to develop tools to understand and manage the local socio-economic impact of retail investment.
Investment in town centres and high streets plays a crucial role in building healthy, successful and inclusive towns and cities, and sustainable development must be at the heart of any investment strategy. The retail and property industries are uniquely positioned to achieve commercial success while delivering and creating benefits for local communities, including the most disadvantaged.
The Government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) reinforces this, as it promotes a “presumption in favour of sustainable development” as part of the commitment to economic growth. Mary Portas High Street Report also recognises the role investment can play in revitalising town centres. Underpinning both is acknowledgement of how retail development can be – as part of a larger strategy – a catalyst for delivering a wider range of economic and social benefits.
However, further guidance is needed to provide a clearer definition of the socio-economic benefits of sustainable development that business, the local authority and the community itself can understand and work towards.
To help to address this gap BITC collaborated with BCSC (British Council of Shopping Centres) to develop a tool to enable investors, local government and community groups to assess the socio economic impacts of retail developments.BITC believes it is critical to promote the social and economic health of England’s communities, especially those in areas of greatest need.
Case studies were carried out with John Lewis Partnership, Asda and Dransfield Properties to test the application of the tool.