New members join Task Force research group to explore high street's big issues

Published 16 February 2021
Last updated 16 February 2021

Seven leading experts from UK universities and consultancies have joined the membership of the High Streets Task Force's Professional, Research and Data Group (PRDG). The PRDG will now turn its attention from COVID-19 to longer-term trends and opportunities for high streets and town centres.

The High Streets Task Force is delighted to announce that the PRDG is to revert to its original role in researching how we can ensure that high streets better serve society in the future.

Over the last year, the focus of the Group has been on providing data to understand the impact of COVID-19, but now its membership will address how high streets and town centres can change for ever.

At today’s meeting, the Task Force welcomed Professor Kim Cassidy from Edge Hill University, Les Dolega from Liverpool University, Professor Cathy Hart from Loughborough University, Matthew Hopkinson from Didobi, Steve Norris from Lambert Smith Hampton, Jonathan Reynolds from Said Business School, University of Oxford, and Professor Leigh Sparks from Stirling University.

Professor Sparks spoke to the Group about the recently completed report to the Scottish Government which he led, called a “New Future for Scotland’s Town Centres”.

The PRDG is itself agreeing the remit for a major study on town centre viability.

Commenting on the new members and the new focus for the PRDG, Professor Cathy Parker, research lead for the High Streets Task Force, said:

“We are very pleased that more leading experts have joined the Group. They bring many years of experience and research knowledge that will have a profound impact on the support we can offer to the Task Force, Government, and those community leaders seeking to make town centres fit for the future. We look forward to working with them and existing PRDG members.”

Simon Quin, Executive Director of the High Streets Task Force, welcomed the new approach:

“The PDRG membership comprises experienced and leading commentators on how we build local resilience to provide town centres with a better future. They are each actively engaged and by working together we anticipate making great progress.”

The current membership of the PRDG is:

Aude Bicquelet-Lock (Chair) RTPI
Christine Mumford Cardiff University
Ian Warren Centre for Towns
Matthew Hopkinson Didobi
Professor Kim Cassidy Edgehill University
Simon Quin HSTF
Maria Lorono Leturiondo IPM
Dr Steve Millington IPM
Dr Nikos Ntounis IPM
Professor Cathy Parker (HSTF Research Lead) IPM
Regine Sonderland Saga IPM
Professor Gary Warnaby IPM
Dr Steve Norris Lambert Smith Hampton
Les Dolega Liverpool University
Professor Cathryn Hart Loughborough University
Polly Barnfield Maybe
Damian Buxton MHCLG
Hannah Hudson MHCLG
Ellen Lumley MHCLG
Carina Schneider MHCLG
Jo Taylor MHCLG
Christian Spence MMU
Richard Prothero ONS
Lahari Ramuni ONS
Iain Goodwin Ordnance Survey
Steve Kingston Ordnance Survey
Evie John PwC
Matthew Williams PwC
Jonathan Reynolds Saïd Business School, University of Oxford
Jonathan Burnett Springboard
Diane Wehrle Springboard
Professor Leigh Sparks University of Stirling