Revitalising town centres

This LGA handbook, from 2017, is designed to offer practical advice for revitalising town centres and act as a checklist for decision-makers within local councils.

Date added 7 October 2021
Last updated 7 October 2021

This LGA handbook offers guidance on how to approach the revitalisation of town and city centres by delivering long-term impacts and using broad principles that can be tailored to meet local needs.

The content was informed by an LGA-led seminar of senior practitioners in November 2017 and has been compiled jointly with the People & Places Partnership. It is intended to provide a high-level overview of issues affecting town and city centres to guide councils in taking a strategic and evidence-based approach.

At the core of the handbook’s teaching is the ‘forward framework’ for town centre revitalisation. This framework proposes using the F-factors checklist developed by the People & Places Partnership, which is designed to lead a successful town or city centre revival by self-assessing how your council currently performs across a range of criteria.

Key elements to consider in this forward framework are:

  • Foundations: the process should be underpinned by an up-to-date review of existing strategies, collective objectives and evidence from recent surveys.
  • Function: action planning should begin with a clear statement of identified issues; recognition of council and partners’ roles; the creation of suitable responses; acknowledgment of gaps in delivery; and identification of impact measures.
  • Form and Folk: next comes the development of appropriate organisational ‘form’ to coordinate activity including defining the roles of key partners and wider stakeholder engagement through ‘folk’.
  • Finances: financial planning needs to include identifying opportunities for fund raising, inward investment and partnership sustainability.
  • Forward planning: finally, everything gets written down as a ‘forward framework’ and regularly reviewed.

This framework is then presented as a checklist for towns, to help councils and their partners gauge current and future processes in strategy development and the delivery of town centre improvements. The rest of the handbook contains suggestions of further reading, helpful resources and examples of good practice that can be accessed through a more extensive and detailed online toolkit.