London's town centres 'need reinventing' to thrive

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London's town centres 'need reinventing' to thrive

Author: Elizabeth Smythe - 05 June 2013

The London Assembly has asserted that London's town centres require 'radical reinvention' in order to tackle rising shop vacancy rates, reports.   

The Assembly's Planning Committee has made the assertion in response to a Supplementary Planning Guidance document drafted by the Mayor, Boris Johnson, which advises local authorities on managing their town centres. The committee wants to see the transformation of town centres from being shopping destinations to 'dynamic and mixed centres for communities' which feature a range of facilities.

In addition to shops, these facilities include public services like libraries, post offices, GP surgeries all of which would bring people back to the town centre. Housing and leisure facilities were also on the list.

Many of London's town centres have become tired-looking, left empty while consumers hit the out-of-town malls. However, the Committee believes its recommendations would help town centres once again become distinctive and thus thrive. Tidying them up and providing newer street furniture: bins, benches, bike shelters, etc, might also aid the cause.

London Assembly member and Labour MP, Nicky Gavron said that the Mayor needed to do more to help town centres make the much-needed transformation.

"London's high streets and town centres are at the heart of our communities," she told "It's time to stop rearranging the deckchairs and start looking at a radical reinvention of the traditional town centre."

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