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Design Council to sit on new High Streets Task Force panel

Austin Smith Lord Helensburgh Town Centre Public Realm Colquhoun Square 2 Keith Hunter Photography

Ministers have backed the creation of a panel of bodies – including Design Council – to advise councils on how to help their town centres thrive 

The government awarded Manchester Metropolitan University’s Institute of Place Management £8.6 million to run the High Streets Task Force.

Design Council will sit on the panel alongside 11 other organisations, including professional services firm PwC and social media engagement specialists Maybe*.

Work will begin this summer, with the first task being to develop a project plan and agree it with ministers.

Design Council architecture director Sue Morgan said: ‘We look forward to working together with fellow members as we consider how we revive and reinvent our high streets and town centres, which have changed so rapidly in recent years.’

High Streets minister Jake Berry MP said: ‘High streets and the way we use them are changing, and this government is committed to helping communities adapt. We want to see vibrant town centres, where people live, shop, use services and spend their leisure time.

‘But, in order to evolve successfully, high streets must meet the needs of their local community and the key to this is strong local leadership. This is why we are providing additional support through a High Streets Task Force, drawing on the best expert advice, training and data that’s available.’

Institute of Place Management director Steve Millington said: ‘Our research has been instrumental in changing the understanding of how high streets function and how important local communities are to their regeneration.

‘We are delighted to have been chosen to lead this important initiative and are very grateful for the support from our consortium of partners.’

Pilot delivery is due start this September with the panel fully operational by July 2020.

The full list of bodies making up the task force is:

  • PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)
  • Design Council
  • Royal Town Planning Institute
  • Landscape Institute
  • The BID Foundation
  • Association of Town and City Management
  • Civic Voice
  • Springboard
  • Maybe*
  • Market Innovations (The Teenage Market)
  • Cardiff University
  • MyKnowledgeMap

Meanwhile, more than 50 areas across the country – from Whitehaven in Cumbria to Penzance in Cornwall – have been longlisted for the second phase of the £675 million Future High Streets Fund to reinvent their town centres.

See the full list here.


Readers' comments (2)

  • PWC on the task force? Aren't they one of the organisations that have assisted in the downfall of high streets by dreaming up yet more ways for the likes of Amazon to minimise their tax liability?
    Ways to tilt the 'playing field' so that high street traders are hard put not to slide off?

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  • RIBA aren't on the council? this makes it seem like architecture has nothing to do with urban design

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