Swindon-based parking solutions company Quadriga Parking has become the first UK contractor to offer a fully-integrated Car Park Bay Guidance System.

An additional 500 car parking spaces are set to be provided at Chelmsley Wood shopping centre in North Solihull as part of a major multi-million-pound redevelopment in the town.

For the second time, Parkex International has teamed up with Traffex and EWx (the External Works Exhibition) to create a wide-ranging event to be held at the Birmingham NEC from April 17 to 19. The sell-out Parkex show alone will bring together more than 100 companies from the UK, Europe and as far afield as China, Iran, Korea and Australia to meet their peers and discuss innovation and best practice. BPA chief executive Keith Banbury says: "These three exhibitions have been co-located to maximise the quality of experience for our visitors and better utilise their valuable time out of the office.

With an increase in the number of people relying on cars as their prime mode of transport, it is perhaps not surprising that car park spaces these days are expensive commodities.

Bracknell town centre is set for a major overhaul over the next six years, with the Bracknell Regeneration Partnership ploughing £750m into creating new retail, residential and leisure opportunities. But while construction is not expected to start for more than a year yet, Princess Square shopping centre, owned by the BRP, has started the ball rolling by refurbishing its multi-storey car park.

The Future of Retail Property research commissioned by the BCSC has highlighted the need for shopping centre owners and managers to think closely about parking provision and customer transport to and from their schemes.

Serving as a regional centre for shopping in Surrey and south-west London and attracting visitors from across a broad catchment area, it is little wonder that parking, transport and access is an issue of concern in Kingston-upon-Thames.

Doncaster's new transport interchange was partly financed by a new shopping centre

Developers could find themselves underwriting transport improvements if an influential parliamentary committee has its way.

Hammerson has paid £120.6m for the Ravenhead Retail Park in St Helens, Lancashire. The property has a current annual net rental income of £4.8m.

Hammerson and Town Centre Securities' plans to regenerate a major site in the centre of Leeds with a million-sq ft retail-led scheme have taken a step forward. Leeds City Council has passed a resolution to grant outline planning permission for the development.

Berkeley Commercial is releasing the final retail phase at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth ahead of schedule in April 2007.

The Secretary of State's office has confirmed the Compulsory Purchase Order that will enable the delivery of the Park Place retail development in Croydon, south London.

Grosvenor will this month reach a major landmark in its massive Liverpool One project with the handover of the two anchor department stores - John Lewis is taking possession of its 240,000-sq ft store at the eastern side of the 42-acre site, while Debenhams will begin internal works on its 185,000 sq ft department store at the western end of the scheme.

Fashion retailer River Island is looking to build on its 220-strong store portfolio across the UK. It has acquired a 8,610-sq ft store at Westfield's Eagle Centre extension in Derby, relocated in Northampton and made its first international acquisition.

Driving Your Business was the theme for this year's BCSC Management Conference, which focused on ways that centre managers can continue to succeed in a rapidly changing and more demanding environment.

Let's face it, given truly a viable alternative, millions of people would not go to a shopping centre. Consider traffic congestion, lack of car parking, the cost of car parking, shops you need that are not open on late nights, the ease of the Internet and lack of real choice, as some of the reasons they might be put off.

As part of the BCSC Study Tour, I was fortunate enough to take a colleague from Gunwharf Quays, in my view one of the best mixed-use developments in the UK, to dinner at the Mall of the Emirates.

So there are to be two new members of the millionaire's club - that exclusive band of shopping centre managers responsible for properties of over a million sq ft - in the form of Andrew Parkinson who is moving from Touchwood to Bluewater and of Robert Goodman, who is moving from airport operator BAA to take over the reins at thecentre:mk.

Menswear retailer Blue Inc is currently embarking on huge expansion plans. The company aims to have about 100 stores within the next three to five years. Currently, there are 35 across the UK, primarily in shopping centres. Last year, Blue Inc opened eight new stores in Maidstone, Harrow, Slough, Luton, Guildford, Camberley, Feltham and Sutton. And in October, the company launched an online store.

Just back from the USA and a trip to Sawgrass Mills in Miami, a 2.2 million sq ft discount mall with all the big names you'd expect.

Busy seems to be an understatement when you look at John Bullough's hectic schedule. Meeting at Grosvenor's head office, late morning on the day after the Edinburgh BCSC Management Conference, the new BCSC president only flew home from Scotland the previous morning and, after fitting in a Black Keys concert at Shepherds Bush in the evening of that same day, he returned to work on the Thursday morning to the mayhem of moving office.

Croydon's Whitgift Centre has pioneered mobile marketing

Our prime methods of communication have changed massively over the past century. There are not many people these days who would happily leave the house or office without a mobile phone, a BlackBerry or a wireless laptop in tow to ensure that they are easily contactable.

Screen FX's Infopod at Meadowhall

Long gone are the days when shopping centre owners made their money solely from letting retail units; these days, it's as much about the non-rental income that can be generated from space on the malls.

Mall floor space is a very valuable commodity in shopping centres and as such, it is vital that every square metre is used in a way that gets the most income return and offers the most value to customers.

The SCEPTRE Awards, rewarding the best practice and the best people in the UK and Ireland shopping centre industry, are back - and they're bigger and better than ever.

What might seem like a simple trip to the shops can become a nightmare for parents with kids who find following mum around town on a Saturday afternoon a miserable experience.

West Orchards is one of three covered centres in Coventry city centre. Dating from 1991, the centre provides 206,000 of retail space across three trading levels, anchored by Debenhams, Marks & Spencer and WH Smith.

Retail sales have continued their upward trend, according to the latest data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG. In the year to February 2007, UK retail sales were up 3.3 per cent on a like-for-like basis, compared with February 2006, when sales had risen only 0.6 per cent.

The latest data from Experian's FootFall division confirms other evidence from the retail sector showing stronger trading in February following on from a very weak January.

Cabot Circus, Bristol

Churston Heard and Experian have published the first of their regional retail market spotlights, looking at the market in Bristol and Bath.


BERNARD FERRIS has joined the KING STURGE shopping centre management team as consultant. For now, he will continue the work he has been doing at the Triangle shopping centre, Manchester, but will ultimately be working on a number of schemes in the King Sturge portfolio.

The Mall has sponsored eight Olympic hopefuls across a range of sports in the run-up to the 2008 games in Beijing. All eight will receive financial and moral support from the company as they prepare for the games.

Emmerdale star Verity Rushworth (below) was at St Johns Centre, Leeds, to help launch the centre's Field of Hope appeal in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care.

The Trafford Centre rolled out the red carpet on Thursday 15 February when it hosted the UK premiere of The Truth About Love.

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