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Revo: NPPF must balance housing, commercial and community needs

By James Buckley - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 9:57

Revo, the organisation which represents the UK retail property and placemaking sector, has advocated the need for more and better housing in urban areas but cautions this must be complemented with other critical uses such as retail, leisure, workspace and public amenities.

In its response to the draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), Revo argues that housing must form part of ‘intensive mixed-use’ town centres, and the vital role of retail and commercial uses in and outside town centres play in supporting jobs and the local economy must not be overlooked.

Revo acknowledges that a major challenge is ‘managing  the transition of surplus retail space to other uses’, whether that’s in or out of town, but argues that the NPPF as it stands is limited in considering the viability of converting retail units, and vacant space above retail units, into residential, workspace or community amenities.

Ed Cooke, Chief Executive at Revo said: “The retail and leisure industry is going through a period of fundamental change and it is important for the Government to support the sector, particularly in a post-EU economy, and a stable policy framework will assist this.

“We have been supportive of residential uses as a critical component in maintaining the vitality of commercial centres, but we need to ensure these are on appropriate sites, complementary to the commercial uses necessary for creating sustainable places.”

Revo, a member of the Government’s Future High Street Forum, also uses its response to the draft NPPF to:  

-Support site allocations on a ten-year basis, but being aware of the evolving economy and retail sector and keeping town centre boundaries under review

-Call on Government to relieve the burden of business rates

-Highlight the need to resource and support Local Authority planning departments, which are key to revitalising town centres.

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