We all want more for our local communities, the places where we live, work and play – fairly distributed across the UK, so that everyone can share in the benefits.
The Government’s 2022 White Paper, “Levelling Up the United Kingdom”, recognises that given the inequalities in our society a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work. It covers four broad areas:
- Boost productivity, pay, jobs and living standards by growing the private sector
- Spread opportunities and improve public services
- Restore a sense of community, local pride and belonging
- Empower local leaders and communities
Placemaking at the heart of change
Councils and combined authorities have a critical role to play in the Levelling Up agenda. What practical steps can you take now?
- Town centre regeneration – rebuilding for community- rather than retail-led spaces
- Creating new engines of economic growth – generating revenue without relying on retail
- The importance of local identity – reinventing your town as, e.g., a cyber-hub, garden village or cultural centre
- The must-haves for successful placemaking of town centres:
- Be brave and distinctive.
- Begin with a placemaking plan and galvanise community and stakeholder support.
- Get going.
Make digital inclusion part of your placemaking strategy to deliver significant change in adult education to health and social care and beyond.
Maximising the community benefits of property developments
Councils have the potential to kick-start regeneration and growth. Find the right partners and structure relationships so that the local community and businesses benefit as much as the developer does. Manage your costs – but not at the expense of less tangible value like decarbonisation or a sense of community.
Levelling up is the right thing to do, but it will be challenging, complex and difficult. By putting placemaking at the centre of developing the next generation of public services, authorities will have the time and space to level up.