New support launched for reopening and recovery of high streets

Published 12 June 2020
Last updated 12 June 2020

The High Streets Task Force has today launched a range of support for High Streets in England, helping town and city centres to reopen and plan their longer-term transformation.

Support for recovery and transformation

The High Streets Task Force has launched a range of cutting-edge tools, training, information and advice for high streets across England as part of the Government’s efforts to reopen safely from 15 June and support their recovery.

This support is open to local councils and all organisations involved with high streets and includes free access to online training programmes, webinars, data and intelligence on topics including recovery planning and coordination, public space and place marketing.

The support is part of the Task Force’s four-year programme which will focus on the long-term transformation of town and city centres and helping communities reimagine and revitalise their high streets. The announcement follows the opening of the Government’s £50m Reopening High Streets Safely Fund which will support local councils to safely reopen their high streets and other commercial areas.

Task Force Chair appointed

Today, the Task Force has also confirmed that Mark Robinson, co-founder of Ellandi and leading investor in regional town centres, has been appointed as the Chair of the Task Force Board. The new Board will guide the work of the Task Force and act as a national voice for high streets, supporting them to transform town and city centres.

High Streets Minister Simon Clarke MP said:

“The re-opening of our High Streets will be a crucial part of kick-starting our economic recovery and restarting town life

“That is why I welcome the appointment of Mark Robinson to head up the High Streets Task Force. I know that Mark will be a strong voice for ensuring that local businesses get the support they need to reopen safely in the coming weeks.

“Combined with our £50 million Reopening High Streets Safely Fund, the work of the Task Force will support our High Streets through this challenging time and ensure they have the tools they need to get back on their feet.

Mark Robinson, Chair of the Task Force, said:

“I am delighted and honoured to be asked to lead this initiative.  No-one underestimates the challenges to our town centres, but this long-term initiative, running until 2024, shows the government’s commitment to our towns and the transformation required. I look forward to making change happen.

“The Task Force has already provided invaluable advice to town centre stakeholders in the current crisis and we will continue to build capacity, promoting best practice, led by research and evidenced by data. The Task Force will provide a rallying point for all of the people who care about our High Streets and advocate the change that is needed.”

Simon Quin, Executive Director of the Task Force said:

"The High Streets Task Force opens for business today. We are making our support generally available for the first time. We have extensive resources focused on making town centres more vital and viable and many ways to help towns respond to COVID-19. All of these are available free."

Our website has far more content than you may have seen in the past. We now have online training open to everyone. We welcome those new to the Task Force and encourage you to explore the site and our other resources."

The Task Force has already been working with high streets to help them adopt its COVID-19 Recovery Framework. Gary Maddock, Town Centre Manager of St Helens, explains how they have accessed Task Force guidance:

“The Coronavirus crisis is forcing us to think and act differently. In St. Helens, we are developing our recovery plan working alongside partners, including those from across the Liverpool City Region, using the High Streets Task Force COVID-19 Recovery Framework.”

“From a position of great uncertainty, the Framework and Task Force resources immediately made sense. Their help is incredibly valuable in plotting a course for the crisis recovery and longer-term transformation of our high streets."

Over the next four years, the Task Force will work directly with towns and cities to provide dedicated expert support, mentoring, guidance and access to data and intelligence.