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New body aims to boost local High Streets

A new body will aim to help town centres to adapt to the modern marketplace, by building on the foundations laid down in the High Street Review conducted by Mary Portas.

The Future High Streets Forum brings together civic and business leaders from across the retail, property and hospitality sectors.

Speaking after the first meeting of the Forum, Local Growth Minister Mark Prisk said, ‘Over the last year this Government has worked hard to help boost the High Street, including initiatives to simplify planning, revamp the public realm, cut the business rate burden and revive local markets’.

‘Now, the Future High Streets Forum will take a joint lead in driving forward these initiatives and providing the strategic leadership needed to analyse the competition and tackle the difficult problems which conventional High Streets need to address.’

The Forum will address a number of key issues, including:

helping to accelerate the local mentoring programme
advising the Government on the more efficient use of existing buildings, in order to encourage people to live in town centres
supporting the expansion of such initiatives as Love Your Local Markets and pop-up shops
researching into a practical toolkit to help town teams to ‘futureproof’ High Streets
exploring solutions to barriers to the High Street, such as local parking policies
The Association of Town and City Management will offer a £1m two-year peer-to-peer support package for the 27 Portas Pilots and 330 town teams across country.