'Hope is not lost for our towns and cities'

Future High Street Summit 2015 will deliver new report on the state of UK retail
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The findings of an upcoming report on the challenges faced by UK towns and cities will show that hope is not lost for the High Street, say the organisers of an event.

The Future High Street Summit 2015 will present a report formed by several organisations. Keith Burge, MD of research consultancy ERS, who is presenting the findings, says the report is the organisations’ response to an article in The Economist, which stated: "Governments should not try to rescue failing towns."

“This is the first time that leading professional bodies working in economic development and regeneration have offered collective views from people who work in and care about our underperforming towns and cities," said Burge.

He will speak alongside Craig McLaren, Director of Scotland and Ireland at RTPI, who will discuss the need to think beyond the High Street and retailing to promote enterprise and community in town centres. 

Clare Rayner, Founder of the Future High Street, commented: “We’re very excited to hear what these industry leaders believe are the main barriers to development in the UK’s towns and cities.

“As retailers enter the last critical shopping days before Christmas, and with many High Streets suffering ongoing decline in footfall as consumers favour online and out-of-town alternatives, one might be forgiven for believing the high street is dead. The Government is being urged to write off our ailing towns but it’s heartening to see that there are still organisations who believe otherwise.

"Our event is all about high street regeneration and we want delegates to see that there is help out there. This report will demonstrate where the problems lie and help our attendees address those issues in their own communities.”

Campaigners Ian Jackson and Adrian Farmer from Belper in Derbyshire, which last week was awarded the ‘Winner of Winners’ in the Great British High Street Awards, will deliver a joint presentation at the Future High Street Summit to demonstrate Belper’s achievements and the commitment behind them.

Alistair Barr, Founder and Managing Director of Barr Gazetas Architects, will lead delegates through an analysis of four very different retail environments which the firm is currently designing: Greenwich High Street, Camden Market, Christchurch High Street and Regent Street.

The Future High Street will be held at Nottingham Conference Centre within Nottingham Trent University on March 25th and 26th. For more information visit the Future High Street Summit website.

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