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New advisory board to explore digital technology for high streets

Out-Law News | 28 Apr 2014 | 3:02 pm | 1 min. read

The UK government has launched an advisory board to look into how digital technology can be used to help create sustainable high streets.

The board's aims and objectives include developing a strong approach to combining technology with the traditional high street to ensure high streets remain commercially viable and locally relevant. It will also create a 'best practice' guide by bringing together a range of examples of successful technology initiatives.

The board is chaired by Home Retail Group chief executive John Walden. It will report to the Future High Streets Forum, which was established by the government last year to implement new ideas and policies in line with recommendations made in Mary Portas' review of the high streets.

"The rise of online retail means Britain’s shoppers are changing their habits and high streets need to adapt to continue to prosper," said high streets minister Brandon Lewis in a statement. "Apps and other digital technologies can bring communities closer to the range of services good town centres offer or reward people for coming into town."

"I have asked John Walden to set up this new advisory board to look at how technology can help connect every high street to the very best ideas," Lewis said.

"There is a number of digital-related high street initiatives, both in the public sector and private sector, but there is often little, if any, linkage between them. This board will take information from successful pilots and examples of good practice, and seek to apply it to a broader national strategy," said Walden.

"It is absolutely imperative a national digital strategy for high streets is built around flexibility - so that it can adapt to changing consumer demand, and play a key role in the increasing desire of residents and visitors to access leisure, social and cultural experiences when they visit town and city centres," Walden added.