70 local authorities to benefit from High Streets Task Force support

Published 19 March 2021
Last updated 20 March 2021

As part of its programme to help communities and local government to transform their high streets, the first 70 local authorities to receive support from the High Streets Task Force have been announced.

Each local authority is eligible to receive direct support from Task Force Experts who will consult with local leaders from government, business, and the community to diagnose the issues blocking transformation and to recommend ways to make positive change happen on the high street.

Tailored support

This support will be tailored to a specific local high street or centre to help create the best vision and strategies for the area. Following a one-day expert visit, each location can receive a range of services offered by the Task Force, including expert consultancy, mentoring, visioning or place making workshops, access to local footfall data, and training programmes for place managers and leaders.

Learning from the support provided to selected locations is then expected to be applied to other places, by the local authority and stakeholders in the area.

Selecting locations for support

The first 70 local authorities, listed below, have been selected to enable support to be delivered where it’s needed most. Regional indicators of deprivation and inequality have been used, alongside research on the impact of COVID-19 on high street retail, to produce the list of areas that would most benefit from support for their local place making capacity.

Visits to each of these areas will continue until mid-2022, when a further list of local authorities will be nominated.

Local authorities: - - -
Ashfield East Lindsey Luton Sheffield
Barking and Dagenham Enfield Mansfield South Tyneside
Barnsley Gateshead Middlesbrough Southampton
Barrow-in-Furness Great Yarmouth Newcastle upon Tyne St. Helens
Blackburn with Darwen Hackney Newham Stockton-on-Tees
Blackpool Halton North East Lincolnshire Stoke-on-Trent
Bolton Haringey Norwich Sunderland
Bradford Hastings Nottingham City Council Swale
Brent Ipswich Oldham Tameside
Bristol City Council Islington Pendle Tendring
Burnley Kingston upon Hull, City of Peterborough Thanet
Calderdale Lambeth Plymouth Torbay
Corby Leeds Portsmouth Tower Hamlets
County Durham Leicester Redcar and Cleveland Wakefield
Darlington Lewisham Rochdale Walsall
Derby Lincoln Rotherham Wigan
Doncaster Liverpool Scarborough Wirral
Sefton Wolverhampton

The Task Force has been helping local authorities over the past 12 months in pilot locations across England, including cities like Preston and Coventry, metropolitan boroughs such as Salford and Croydon, and smaller town and district centres like Accrington, Hartlepool and West Bromwich.

Simon Quin, Executive Director of the High Streets Task Force, said:

“This is not just about support for 70 locations alone. The High Streets Task Force is a wider commitment to raising the skills and resources of local leaders to transform our towns and cities for many years to come. For every high street we support directly, we hope that many more will benefit from the approaches and learning gained locally.”

Online resources open to all

The High Streets Task Force has been open to all involved in managing high streets across England since June 2020. It brought forward its launch to offer support to towns and cities responding to COVID-19 and national restrictions, by providing free access to online training programmes, webinars, data, and intelligence on topics including recovery planning and coordination, and reconfiguring public space.

Over 60% of local authorities and over 3,000 people have already engaged with the Task Force since its launch. Many of these are place managers (like town centre managers) and coordinators and leaders of place partnerships, such as Business Improvement Districts. Many places have adopted the Task Force’s COVID-19 Recovery Framework to help them respond to the impacts of the pandemic on their place.

Professor Cathy Parker, High Streets Task Force Research Lead, said:

“The Task Force recognises that high streets must evolve from monofunctional shopping centres to multifunctional community hubs and this process is driven by inspirational and knowledgeable local place leaders working in partnership across council, business and the community. The Task Force is here to support these managers and leaders.”

The Task Force is to begin visiting the first of the 70 local authorities from April 2021.