This year's Parkex exhibition at London's Earls Court showed the parking industry going through a period of rapid change. Stand after stand displayed new applications that are going to change both management practices and the customer experience.
The British Parking Association has launched its code of practice for clampers. Its main objective is to help raise standards in the parking sector and ensure that vehicle immobilisation and removal is undertaken in a responsible, effective and efficient manner.
Sheffield city centre is to gain a new multi-storey car park as part of the MoorSheffield regeneration project.
Parkeon has embarked on a five-year plan which hopes to see the company's revenues grow from ?130m in 2005 to ?200m by 2010.
One of the biggest-ever retail parking contracts is up for grabs after Parkview International instructed Town Centre Parking to let the 2,750 parking spaces serving the commercial element of its Battersea Power Station scheme on the south bank of the Thames.
ECPfm, a new division of Euro Car Parks, has clinched the management of eight major retail parks for Capital & Regional's specialist out-of-town fund The Junction. The services extend to parking management, cleaning, security and customer service.
Telford shopping centre car parks have been awarded the Park Mark Safer Parking Award for the second year running.
The largest shopping centre car park in Ireland outside Dublin has opened at Newbridge, Co. Kildare with Q-Park Ireland as the operator.
When mall parking's involved, revenue is never far behind. Whether you're a shopper or a car park operator, the price per park will be uppermost in your mind as a car heads for the entry barrier. If it's shopping that's the purpose of your visit, the price per visit will probably do much to colour your judgement of the trip, even though the sum will normally be only a small fraction of the total expenditure involved.
Whether you are after a pay-and-display or pay-on-foot system, there are many companies to choose from. Parkex is always a huge platform for companies eager to show off their latest innovations and this year was no exception.
Centre managers should not underestimate the effect a car park can have on people's shopping habits. The car park is the first thing the customer sees when they enter the scheme, and it's the final impression left ingrained once all the shopping is done. If the impression is not a good one that customer may be lost for good no matter how good the rest of the centre may be.
Taking time to choose the right lighting for your car park could have benefits beyond that of helping customers feel safe.
The votes have been counted, the judges have deliberated and now the contenders are looking forward to their moment in the spotlight at this year's SCEPTRE Awards, which this year for the first time include three categories dedicated to Ireland and a new category for Best Technological Innovation.
Payment machines, surface products, lighting and CCTV are the most obvious areas of interest to developers building a new car park or owners wishing to refurbish, but what about all the other smaller details that go into making a car park a safe and friendly environment to park?
The Mills Corporation and Ivanhoe Cambridge have unveiled ambitious plans to redevelop Glasgow's St Enoch Centre. The £100m proposals will bring the total retail and leisure content of the centre up from 750,000 sq ft to one million sq ft.
A new industry-wide code of practice on service charges has been launched, with the aim of reducing conflict between property owners and occupiers.
Grabbing a healthy snack on the move is not always easy, but in a health-conscious climate, well-being and convenience need to go hand-in-hand.
I am told that I called the top of the market by selling The Priory Shopping Centre. From my point of view I don't think so - it was just a price you couldn't refuse. Lunches and dinners are abuzz with talk of when will it be the top and what will happen on the way down? With swap rates rising it can't be long before we see an interest rate rise. It may be insensitive but the change in the Monetary Policy Committee forced by death may mean this rise will come sooner rather than later, as the main protagonist for keeping rates down has gone.
A number of straws in the wind at the moment show that management issues are once again moving up the property agenda.
== Landlords should resist BRC rent campaign ==
Today shopping centres are more than just big box buildings designed to house retail units. Instead a lot of thought goes into the design, inside and out.
The 2006 SCEPTRE Awards dinner at London's Marriott Grosvenor Square hotel was bigger and better than ever. And the quality of the entries reflected the sheer variety and vitality of the shopping centre industry and served as the perfect showcase for an industry on the up.
== ? EDINBURGH ==
ANDREW MARTIN, director of retail at Hermes, is to join the board of CB RICHARD ELLIS INVESTORS as a non-executive director on his retirement from the fund in July 2006.
The Boardwalk at Port Solent in Portsmouth has been hailed as one of Britain's first Green Heroes.
Crystal Peaks' centre manager Chris Jones got a chance to relive his childhood recently when two Dr Who look-alikes - the tenth Doctor, David Tennant and the third Doctor, Jon Pertwee - visited the mall along with a full-sized Tardis, a Dalek, a Cyberman and K-9.
Intrepid biker Roger Allen has raised nearly £3,000 for Dreamflight - the charity for terminally ill children - by being the first to ride from John O'Groats to Land's End in under 24 hours.
A thousand balloons were launched into the blue Ayrshire skies to celebrate the opening of Ayr Central, Henry Boot's £75m shopping centre in the heart of Ayr town centre.