Task Force welcomes new fund for reopening high streets safely
The announcement of £50 million for the safe reopening of high streets is very good news. We need town centres to be as welcoming as possible as more businesses open, whilst ensuring safety. This will give encouragement for places to install signing, barriers, street and route markings that are pedestrian-friendly rather than using structures you might find on highways.
The High Streets Task Force has already been identifying such welcoming approaches, many based on the concept of tactical urbanism. Our resource pages features schemes from around the world, including a video introduction by Dr Steve Millington from the Institute of Place Management. More will be added.
We do not know how long we will require social distancing to be in place. This funding should mean that from the outset there is an opportunity to choose something attractive rather than just practical but bear in mind that this will need to be flexible as growing usage of the high street may bring unexpected challenges and changes may need to be introduced.
It is positive to see that the fund can also fund local marketing initiatives. Our data says that during the crisis people have been making more use of centres near to them rather than travelling far. This is likely to continue but they may not be fully familiar with the centre and all it has to offer, so you should use marketing to increase this local awareness as well as providing reassurance that safety precautions are in place.
The High Streets Task Force team