The Perfect Partnership for Places

Institute of Place Management and Revive & Thrive  working together for UK Places

Revive and Thrive is proud to announce that it is now a Partner of the Institute of Place Management (IPM), which is the professional body for the place management sector. Both organisations have committed to work together and make it easier for place managers to get the information and support they need to do their job.Institute of Place Management and Revive & Thrive unite for all UK places

The agreement will enable more Revive and Thrive events to be recognised as valuable learning opportunities for delegates, through IPM’s Continuing Professional Development accreditation process. In addition, more insight and knowledge developed by the world-leading researchers in IPM will now be shared through the Revive and Thrive community.

Professor Cathy Parker, Chair of the Institute of Place Management said, “We have been very impressed with the Revive and Thrive team, their events as well as Place Magazine so we are really pleased to have the opportunity to work more closely together”.

MD and Founder of Revive & Thrive, Mark Barnes, said “The two organisations complement each other extremely well and will offer a huge amount of value to their respective networks.”

He added, “We have a shared ethos of supporting places of all sizes and offering accessible information to place managers, councils and community activists to enable them to bring about the changes they want in the places that they care about.”

This new collaboration melds together perfectly.  IPM’s academic approach, research and training fit together with Revive & Thrive’s solution-focused approach to inspiring and sharing best practice, thus ensuring that advice, mentoring and information is readily available to all places.

With networks extending from academia and the country’s largest BIDs to elected councillors, volunteers and businesses on the high street, the future for place management and our nation’s towns, cities, villages and high streets looks as promising as it has for a long time.

Reverse the effects of the 3Ds

From wasteland to areas of economic growth

Urban regeneration is simply defined as the process of reversing the effects of what I like to call the 3Ds:

  • DownturnRead regular article from Alison Bowcott-McGrath in Revive & Thrive's Place Magazine
  • Decay
  • Dereliction

However, wherever there is a wasteland, there is also an opportunity and, with a little creative vision, high streets experiencing social decline can be transformed into areas of economic growth. It’s all about repurposing existing buildings and introducing mixed use developments that better represent the needs of the community such as; residences, workplaces, retail, health and public spaces.

According to Essential Retail magazine, retail businesses with large footprints, especially those with large format stores and long lease terms, will struggle in 2018. We’ve all heard about John Lewis and New Look seeking CVAs (company voluntary arrangements), legal agreements allowing rent reduction negotiations and store closures amid concerns over poor sales figures. These have come under recent scrutiny believed to simply delay the demise rather than rescue the business. Maplins, Poundworld and Toys R Us have all fallen into Revive & Thrive Local Legend Campaign sponsored by PinPointeradministration and it seems a failure to adapt to industry changes has left the traditional retail business model no longer fit for purpose in the modern digital world.

What does this mean for the future of UK high streets?

Creative thinking is required for the changing environment because these days people want to work in places where they can make a life and not just a living. Thoughtful regeneration that considers the needs of the community it serves will attract investment and offer security in the ebb and flow of shifting consumer habits. We need to create spaces that encourage collaboration and creativity to bring in the best talent and nurture the best ideas.

If we consider the future by reimagining the buildings in our high street as more vibrant, exciting and inspiring places we provide them with a whole new lease of life. Flexible and sustainable spaces to suit an increasingly diverse workforce are the essential fabric of the community, places we can experience, live, learn, work, develop and grow.

Alison Bowcott-McGrathAlison Bowcott-McGrath is MD of MayNineteen and PinPointer

Founder and Managing Director

PinPointer UK and MAYNINETEEN Ltd


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It’s the invisible network that secures the future of your place

Invisible Networks and How to Use Them in Your Place

Places are defined by the physical network of buildings and roads that they cover. So it is relatively easy to map the physical area a place occupies from individual streets to an area on an ordnance survey map.  Surveys of shoppers and Invisible networks article features in Place Magazineworkers can also be used to map out the hinterland of a place which can be transferred to a map showing the retail catchment area or the travel to work area.

These visible networks are useful tools to use to compare your place with others and over a period of time can act as barometers to the vibrancy of your place. The networks that drive the changes in the physical networks are harder to capture.  Our places have input from both the public and private sector, some of these networks are well defined and easily captured, others are more difficult and probably more vital to your places future.

Invisible network author Keith Jackson is a monthly contributor to Place Magazine
Keith Jackson is a monthly contributor to Place Magazine

Part of my previous work at CRED in the University of Cumbria highlighted the invisible networks across the public sector that ensured business compliance of national regulations at a local level. These networks interacted with various trade bodies to encourage where possible that these networks delivered elements of business support as well as regulation compliance.  IFLAS, another body within Cumbria examines the invisible networks across the public and private sectors that make up a place and then looks at how these can be led.

Our own recent experience (as Thomas Jardine & co) in renovating a city centre building to house a co-working space highlighted how you can stumble across these incredibly vital invisible networks.  In our area at first glance the construction sector looks fairly visible with several large local, regional and national firms either developing housing sites or working on larger commercial projects. As a smaller developer, we were fortunate enough to work with a really good local architect who guided us through the necessary compliance of our project and who introduced us to an excellent local builder whose invisible network of contractors and suppliers seems to be able to tackle any contingency we come across.  We were also lucky to have a chance conversation with one of our son’s friends whose business is now redoing all of our electric and gas heating requirements.  This network of invisible local trade’s people is essential in maintaining the growth of our place and it should be no surprise that the good trades people tend to know each other and appear to prefer working on sites with people they know and trust.

Like all good local networks they tend to get on with it quietly with not too much noise hence they tend to be less visible than the larger national firms, this does not stop their ambition, one Advertise in Place Magazine each month at a very low rateof our local firms (Story) has gone from a one man band to a national player in one generation.

The invisible networks in your place are what creates the visible network.  This is just as true for the food network that supplies the local hospitality trade as it is for construction and I am sure you could think of other invisible networks.  So before you next decide to help change your visible networks in your place take a deep breath and check to see that you have included all the invisible networks in your plans as well.

Institute of Place Management Article

Let’s do something radical to boost town centres

By Simon Quin, Director Institute of Place Management

The Daily Mirror on Saturday 3rd March ran a story headlined “Britain’s high streets becoming ‘ghost towns’ due to brutal closures” which detailed further retail collapses, the high level of retail vacancy in some centres, notably Stoke-on-Trent, Dewsbury and Newport, and words of worry from retail expert Richard Another great article from Place MagazineHyman. The story highlighted concerns from Richard Hyman that many retailers are in denial over changing shopping habits and also contained various references from local retailers to the perceived lack of or wrong response from local authorities.

Institute of Place Management Findings

Research by the Institute of Place Management published in the Journal of Place Management and Development (Improving the vitality and viability of the UK High Street by 2020: Identifying priorities and a framework for action) notes that “dramatic changes have been a constantly recurring theme” in respect of retail centres as they have seen the rise of department stores, chain stores, supermarkets, shopping malls, the impact of refrigeration, increased car ownership, retail deregulation, out of town retailing and online. Having undertaken a systematic review of the literature relating to retail centres and then working with stakeholders in 10 town centres, we were able to identify some two hundred factors that can impact on town centre health. Most significantly we also identified the 25 most important factors that are controllable locally.

The 4 Rs of Regeneration

The research identified the ‘4 Rs of Regeneration’. The first of these is Repositioning and requires collaboration amongst different stakeholders to share and analyse data and information about what is happening in the town centre.  Do stakeholders, whether from the public, private or community sector, really understand the forces of change that are For support for Town and City Centre contact Institute of Place Managementimpacting their centre? In the Daily Mirror article Richard Hyman suggests they do not and we agree. We are currently working to develop dashboards that stakeholders can access to monitor the performance of their centre looking at key indicators like footfall and sales. Repositioning enables towns to recognise the failure of previous strategies, identify new ways of expanding economic activity, and find ways to improve existing retailing.

The second R is Reinventing. Individual retailers are very familiar with this. They adapt opening hours to different circumstances, they segment their stores to fit market niches, they adapt the store to meet the physical requirements of the individual unit. How can this be applied town wide? We think it is essential to understand the customers you are looking to serve. To know what kind of town you are and to meet those customers’ needs, and not just retail needs. Find out what you can about the people who use your town and remember that some towns have many visitors that will not be obvious in a simple look at the catchment area.

Rebranding is the third R. This is about communicating the image and identity of your town. What is different, what is unique about you? It is now recognised that good place brands cannot be imposed from above but need to be something that reach the right audience by advertising in Place Magazineis co-created, hence again requiring collaboration and engagement.

Restructuring is the final R and in some instances is the most difficult to achieve. It is the recognition that old systems are not working, that strategic networks and partnerships need to be created to address the scale of challenge. We are seeing the difference that Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) are making to town and city centres around the country. These actively engage many more of the location stakeholders in decision-making, which is why the Institute of Place Management is keen to support them through The BID Foundation. A BID takes time to establish and it is not the only route to Restructuring. Local partnerships can be established, but they need to be strategic to be effective.

Some articles you read would suggest that all high streets are set to collapse. That this is not the case should encourage you to take the steps you need in your centre. In 2010, Altrincham, one of the 10 towns we worked with on the High Street research, was the town making headlines as a ghost town. Retail vacancy was around a third of units. Today the town is a thriving centre, vacancy has plummeted, footfall has risen by a quarter, new businesses are arriving and new investment is happening. You can read more in the Manchester Evening News article from February  ‘From ghost town to boom town – how Altrincham became the place to be’. We feature Altrincham’s story in our research article along with other useful initiatives in 9 other towns.

It is time to do something radical and adopt a new approach for your town if you want it to have a future.

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Wolverhampton BID – Life as a Project Manager in a BID

The many joys of being a Project Manager within Wolverhampton BID

Since joining Wolverhampton BID in April in the role of Projects Manager it’s opened my eyes to the diverse skills and multi-tasking requirements of the role, working in a busy BID office. Drawing on my extensive retail and customer service background it has enabled me to redirect the focus & role of the BID Ambassador Team, from its original street warden patrols and general public engagement role to an integral support role for both City centre visitors to Wolverhampton and the BID businesses within the city.

Life experineces such as this are always featured in Place Magazine
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The refocused approach was brought about by the recruitment of 3 new members of the team Jo, Sally and Heidi, who joined the original members Wendy and Mick.  There was real emphasis that the new members needed to compliment and strengthen the existing team, whilst having strong customer service focus in their skill sets. The new team members brought with them a wealth of retail and customer service experience, an ability to see in great depth the city centre from the business’s perspective. Luckily for the businesses, visitors and shoppers of Wolverhampton the new approach and team has paid dividends, as the drive and enthusiasm they express towards the goals of Wolverhampton BID and the thriving city centre is infectious.

The Ambassador Team is so much more than just a meet and greet service, they are the friendly face of the city centre, the walking talking visitor information service, the travel information team, first aid support, the business engagement team and 2 members of team have also successfully achieved SIA CCTV operator status, , thus ensuring that they can strengthen the Join Revive & Thrive - a membership for all people passionate about placesupport offered to the levy payers, they can monitor, assist and direct resources to deal with negative behaviour within the city centre – they really are the eyes and ears of the city, and no 2 days are ever the same.

As re-ballot in 2020 is fast approaching we would hope that the hard work of both the Ambassadors and the Wolverhampton BID team to meet the wants, needs and expectations of the business community have been understood, met or exceeded, and that the re vote for a second term supports the future of Wolverhampton city centre and its businesses to grow, be prosperous and support the continued growth and regeneration of this great city.

Shaun Boyce, Projects Manager
Wolverhampton BID