About TCM


Town Centre Monitor (TCM) is a unique tool designed to provide evidence of the economic value and dynamics of town centres.  It has been developed by a team of experts in spatial analysis and economic and business data to fill a burgeoning gap in local-level evidence.

TCM measures the value and structure of the economy located within spatial town centre boundaries.  It also captures dynamics in the built and social environment.  It generates robust, actionable evidence that can be used to support strategic planning, monitoring and evaluation.

What is TCM?

In essence, TCM is three things:

  • A model for defining town centre boundaries to allow for consistent, comparable assessment of economic performance, built environment and social infrastructure
  • A model for measuring dynamics in any spatially defined town centre area
  • A tool to deliver insight that supports strategic decision making for policy makers, investors, town centre occupiers and property & planning professionals.

How can I acquire TCM insight?

TCM can be purchased in two formats:

  1. Standardised reports for individual town centres using our spatial statistical model to define the town centre boundaries.  These reports contain key insight on how town centres are performing and what value they represent for the local economies in which they sit.
  2. Bespoke analysis where we agree the specification for the town centre boundaries and analysis with the client to create a tailor-made solution to meet a specific need.  Examples include:
    • Investigating the Brexit impact for towns through understanding the profile of EU-owned businesses and their economic value
    • Delivering an analysis of a key sector and its economic impact and dynamics in a town or range of towns.
    • Creating an economic baseline for a town or bespoke geographic area (e.g. Business Improvement District) to support monitor and evaluation of programmes and projects.
    • Delivering a nationwide research report examining how town centres change spatially through time and how the economic activity that they support drives or responds to those changes.
    • Measuring changes to social and civic infrastructure to examine the role of town centres outside of their retail and business economies.

What lies behind TCM?

There are two key components to TCM:

  • A set of comparable, consistent town centre boundaries across England and Wales.  The boundary of town centres has been generated using a bespoke methodology which truly reflects the nature of each local town centre economy. The result is a set of statistically defined and comparable areas for analysis. The methodology is based upon previous research as carried out for the then Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG). For a detailed background see: Thurstain-Goodwin, M. & Unwin, D. (2000) Defining and Delineating the Central Areas of Towns for Statistical Monitoring Using Continuous Surface Representations, Transactions in GIS, 4 (4) pp. 305–317.
  • A unique longitudinal business dataset which provides the platform for detailed analysis of local economies and the firms that make them up.  Our business database contains data on over 3.5 million live firms in the UK and their performance histories. This represents the whole UK population which includes firms below the VAT threshold, branch sites, and the self-employed. As such we have more firm coverage than sources such as the Inter Departmental Business Register (IDBR).  The granularity of our data allows for a bottom-up method to be taken. This involves financial information from individual firms to be pieced together to calculate overall outputs. Official statistics rely on aggregated data, often from business surveys. This top-down approach involves starting with the whole economy and working down to consider GVA of the sub-components of this, for example for different regions and industries.

Contact us to find out more about how TCM can work for you.