Local authority engagement and sustainable funding key to high street success, report says

Out-Law News | 03 Jun 2014 | 12:41 pm | 1 min. read

Good local leadership and local authority support has been behind the success of Portas Pilots in reinventing their high streets, a report by the Future High Streets Forum has said.

The report set out a 'Plan-Do-Review' (28-page / 614KB PDF) model for good leadership on high streets and in town centres. The model recommends that town centres should develop a shared local vision to inform a town strategy and action plan. The plan should be delivered through expert teams with the support of sustainable funding and should be regularly and systematically reviewed to make any necessary changes.

The report is the result of four study visits by the Forum, which was set up to help implement new ideas and policies in line with recommendations from Mary Portas' review of the high street, to the four pilot towns of Bedminster, Dartford, Rotherham and Sydenham.

The report said that the perceived success of the pilots was based on engagement with the local authority, sustainable funding, entrepreneurial spirit and the establishment and communication of a vision.

"In successful pilots, there is clear and demonstrable ownership and often tangible support from the local authority. Where the wellbeing of the town centre is at the forefront of local government policy, results are often seen sooner than elsewhere," the report said.

"The Future High Streets Forum is right to say that good local leadership is the essential ingredient for creating great high streets," said high streets minister Brandon Lewis in a statement. "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," he said.