Coplan Estates talks relying on mixed-use schemes to regenerate our towns
Developer Coplan Estates believes that mixed-use schemes can play a pivotal role in stimulating local economies and breathing new life into ailing town centres.
In recent years the declining fortunes of town and city centres across the UK has been laid bare. Retail struggles, flexible working, out of town developments – have all negatively impacted their prosperity and local authorities up and down the land are desperate to try and reverse this concerning trend.
Central and local government have started to recognise that making the most effective use of land is vital and planning and development policies reflect that. The National Planning Policy Framework published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in February calls for planning decisions to encourage multiple benefits in urban land, including through the development of mixed-use schemes.
This is an area that Coplan Estates understands well, building on its successful track record of delivering mixed use development projects with an expanding pipeline of future schemes within its principle area of business – the London and regional towns within the M25 and South East.
It recognises that substantial commercial floor space and the right mix of businesses are vital to create jobs, drive footfall, helping keep developments alive at street level and above as well as boosting the local economy.
Coplan Estates works with landowners, particularly those in the public sector, to deliver large scale regeneration projects on land and investments. The majority of these projects are town centre based and can include leisure, retail, hotel, offices, co working, residential and medical occupiers.
By looking at developments and working from ground level up, to design realistic commercial uses where occupier demand has been identified, the firm is able to devise mixed use schemes and funding structures that are flexible enough to cope with inevitable fiscal challenges of the development process and a viable market place.
Experience indicates that maximising the returns from the upper parts of mixed-use schemes are key. Typically, residential and hotel uses will drive positive values.
The Coplan team works throughout the initial stages of a development to determine the ideal solution for stakeholders, be it a forward sale to housebuilders and investors or to large scale PRS operators. The aim is always to create the perfect balance between the commercial and residential side of the development.
Its most recently opened scheme at Bedford Riverside includes a cinema, hotel, restaurants and apartments. Similarly, the prestigious redevelopment of Hornsey Town Hall in Crouch End, North London will boast a new community arts centre, a hotel, apartments, restaurants and cafes and great amenity space. The theme of balancing vibrant commercial space with a high-quality residential offering continues at locations in Redhill and Woking with an estimated total end value of £300m. Coplan works with Councils on land assembly and, if justified, the use of statutory powers to ensure the schemes are delivered.
That balancing ethos is one which Coplan Estates managing director Nick Doyle believes can help breathe fresh life into dormant town centres.
“We have always believed in working on sites in good locations with excellent transport links where people will choose to live and connect to their town centre amenities. New transport links act as a catalyst for development and regeneration. To make the best use of scarce land and provide developments that will help town centres flourish, projects must deliver the right balance of homes, workplaces and supporting local amenities,” he says.