Last updated: 18 March 2020

COVID-19: Changes to Task Force Pilot Programme

Coronavirus is set to have a very significant impact on our town centres. As the Task Force, we are developing support programmes for those involved in them and concerned with them, working with our partners to understand the challenge and potential responses. We are also making changes to our planned delivery programme.

The High Streets Task Force Pilot Programme began working with 14 towns in February. We have held diagnostic visits in seven locations over the last few weeks, meeting with local authority leaders and their partners to discuss high street performance and the plans for the future in each place. The visits have provided valuable feedback for the Task Force and each of these towns is in the process of getting a report on the visit and proposed next steps.

The new Coronavirus restrictions now mean that the remaining seven pilot visits will not take place as envisaged over the next few weeks but will be postponed until there are no restrictions on movement and assembly.

The Task Force will continue to work with all 14 locations on piloting its range of online learning and webinar programmes. Each of these will be tested with many of the pilots and allow us to review their content and approach.

We are also making changes to other meetings we planned for the next month, and we have today arranged that most of these will happen online. The Task Force partners are well experienced in using online meetings and we will put this to good use.

The Task Force will be looking to support town centres, their businesses and the communities they serve through the very uncertain period ahead. We will be working with government and our wider partnerships to provide data on places and to share knowledge and resources as much as possible.