Unlocking access to town centre property

Across the UK, local people are creating businesses that could revitalise town centres – repair and sharing spaces, community bakeries, climate action hubs, genuinely affordable housing – services that develop critical social, economic and climate resilient infrastructure.

But a major barrier to their success is the lack of access to affordable, secure, long-term land and property.

Over the last few months, Shoosmiths has been working on a project – Platform: a town centre innovation programme – to explore what more can be done to open up town centre property for a more diverse range of occupiers and communities, whilst also ensuring that investors are sufficiently incentivised and supported to do so. Nathan Rees, Kirsty Black and Ellis Gardner-Browne have been working on the project with project lead, Rebecca Trevalyan, and fellow project partners: Power to Change, High Streets Task Force, British Property Federation, New Local and Radix.

Our first webinar - Unlocking access to town centre property – was held on 25 November 2021, during which various stakeholders on the project presented on the challenge facing our high streets and what needs to be done to rethink town centre property ownership and access, as well as to share their ideas on potential solutions and how we might replicate models like these around the country. They include:

  • Frances Northrop - A community entrepreneur and Associate Fellow for NEF, Frances has supported multiple communities to set up trusts to acquire and manage assets for long-term local benefit
  • Nalin Seneviratne - Director for City Centre Development at Sheffield City Council, Nalin has overseen large redevelopments that put community organisations at their heart
  • Theo Michell - Principle at private developer Bywater Property, Theo has piloted a model that gives local people decision-making power over how local spaces are used – and on what terms


Watch a recording of the webinar below - 



This information is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. Please contact us for specific advice on your circumstances. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024.



Read the latest articles and commentary from Shoosmiths or you can explore our full insights library.