Local leadership ‘key to high street renaissance’

2 Jun 14
Strong local leadership is crucial to successful town centre regeneration, a review of four ‘Portas pilot’ towns has found.

The Future High Streets Forum published a report analysing what lay behind the successful reinvention of Bedminster, Dartford, Rotherham and Sydenham.

Common factors identified in the report included local authority engagement, sustainable and smart investment and an entrepreneurial spirit. It also advised that regular reviews were necessary to ensure constant improvement and clarity of focus.

Local government minister Brandon Lewis, who co-chairs the Future High Streets Forum, said: ‘High streets are the heartbeat of every community.

‘The Future High Streets Forum is right to say that good local leadership is the essential ingredient for creating great high streets. Their leadership proposals will help every town centre across the country achieve the success that places like Dartford have, which in turn will future proof our high streets for decades to come.’

The report sets out five steps that make up its ‘Great High Streets’ model. These are: development of a shared local vision; creation of a strategy and plan; delivery of this plan; data gathering to review the strategy and plan; and the sharing of insights and learning from the data.

Jason Cotta, managing director of Costa Coffee, led the expert team that produced the report. He said: ‘We know what makes a high street great and what can turn a poor one around – good leadership – so the forum has developed a way to galvanise local leaders around a coherent game plan.’


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