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Taskforce targets distressed retail

A government-backed industry taskforce has been launched to come to the rescue of ailing town centre properties, in response to the Portas Review.

The Distressed Retail Property Taskforce, led by the BCSC, will consider ways to attract investment into specific distressed in-town retail assets. The group will identify the core issues around property lenders' or administrators' inability to invest in or sell on the retail property and assess ways they can be regenerated.

DRPT will comprise between 15 and 20 industry figures from across the retail property industry, including major real estate lenders, pension funds and trade organisations such as the British Property Federation and British Retail Consortium. Officials from government departments, including CLG, will be observers on the group.

Mark Williams, chairman of DRPT and director of Hark asset management, said: "The underlying problems are complex and the challenges in tackling these issues are significant. As such they can be addressed only if the right organisations and the right people come together and make it happen. I am pleased the industry is taking such a proactive role."

Peter Drummond, president of BCSC, added: "By working together to develop a full picture of the issue and its impact on town centres, we will be in a better position to uncover a workable long-term solution."

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