Trends & Features

Future High Streets Forum launched

A new government initiative has been launched to build on The Portas Review, an independent assessment of the future of the UK’s high streets, which was published in December 2011.

Co-chaired by Local Growth Minister Mark Prisk and Alex Gourlay, chief executive, Health & Beauty Division, Alliance Boots, the national Future High Streets Forum brings together leaders across retail, property and business to better understand the competition town centres across the country face and to drive forward new ideas and policies.

In particular, it will advise the country’s 27 Portas Pilots and 330 ‘Town Team Partners’ on how to adapt to a new era of online shopping and the changing way in which consumers shop.

The Future High Streets Forum will advise the government on the challenges facing high streets and help develop policies to enable town centres to adapt and change.

It will look at issues such as promoting parking solutions and good practice to help high streets attract more visitors, making it easier for redundant empty spaces to be used as pop up shops to bring new business onto the high street and allowing commercial landlords to turn part of their building into a residential property to bring more people into town centres.

“It is clear our high streets will need to change to prosper,” says Mark Prisk.

“There is already great work being done across the country to revitalise the town centres, but it needs to spread further faster.

“The Future High Streets Forum will help us do that.

“The forum will bring business, councils, retailers and property experts to work together and back communities to rejuvenate our high streets.”

Members of the forum include representatives from John Lewis, the British Retail Consortium, the British Property Federation, the British Council of Shopping Centres, the Association of Town & City Management and the Association of Convenience Stores.

“Boots UK strongly supports the pursuit of creating healthy and prosperous high streets which can be essential, if not the most critical, ingredient in supporting the regeneration of local communities,” says Alex Gourlay.

“High streets are vital for the health of our communities, providing services and support that are accessible and within easy walking distance for many people.

“From speaking to our customers, we know the survival of the high street is very important to them. I am proud to be co-chairing The Future High Streets Forum, to work with others also committed to the future of our high streets and ensuring their growth and success in years to come.”

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