18 Mar 2021 | Core Cities and Devolution | High Street | Leasing and Commercial | Planning

Regional Reflections

Regional Perspectives – Q1 2021 

We kicked off our first round of regional meetings for 2021 last month in Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle and Bristol and were delighted to be joined by Guy Grainger, BPF Vice President and Global Head of Sustainability Services and ESG at JLL. 2021 promises to be a busy year for real estate policy, with the Covid-19 pandemic accelerating challenges for town centres, radical planning reform, and of course the wider sustainability/ESG agenda culminating with the COP26 conference in Glasgow in November.  

Our regional forums provide an opportunity to shape our conversations with Government, and to ensure that we are able to share the full breadth of views of the commercial real estate sector across the country. This blog covers three key areas that will help shape our regional forums for 2021:  


The Government is currently pursuing short-term planning easements (such as the new commercial to residential PDR), and we were keen to understand the impact of these proposals for investors and practitioners in our key cities. The potential implications for town centres are severe, particularly those in fragmented ownership, and with the recent introduction of the new commercial business and service (class E) it is clear that these changes need to bed in before further reform is pursued.  

The Planning White Paper heralds dramatic changes to the regime across the country. The proposed frontloading of the planning system will put local authorities under severe strain. More broadly, if the reforms are to achieve in practice, our planning system will need the resources to match the bold rhetoric from government in this sphere.  

Town Centres 

Our regional forums play a key part in the shaping our proposals to Government alongside our Retail Board. A failure to revive town centres, the decline of which has been accelerated over the last year, will severely impact upon the Conservatives’ chances at the next general election – particularly in the new ‘red-wall’ seats.  

We are expecting an interim report on business rates on the recently announced ‘tax day’ next week – 23 March, which is earmarked as a key date for a number of relevant tax announcements for the property sector.  

Landlord and Tenant Act Reform 

The Government have announced a future review of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. An independent panel/scope will soon be announced with firm recommendations expected later this summer.  

We are working closely with members and officials to consider whether there are elements of the owner-occupier relationship can also be leveraged to meet wider policy objectives, such as the targets around net zero.  

For more information, or to get involved, please contact with Michelle Killington. 

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Sam Bensted Senior Policy Officer