A High Street Revolution

This report by Power to Change focuses on private sector developers’ role in generating increased community participation across high streets and town centres. The report examines how private developers can boost community involvement and suggests opportunities for developers to assist community businesses emerging in correlation with regenerating high streets.

Date added 2 July 2021
Last updated 2 July 2021

This report by Power to Change focuses on private sector developers’ role in generating increased community participation across high streets and town centres. The report examines how private developers can boost community involvement and suggests opportunities for developers to assist community businesses emerging in correlation with regenerating high streets. As such, the report introduces five approaches to community involvement:

  • Approach 1: Community shopping centres as community hubs:

This approach involves reimagining shopping centres as community hubs to provide civic amenities, however this does indeed require both investment and public private partnerships in order to succeed. It includes repurposing retail space, not only into space for community focused activities, but also into flexible workspace.

  • Approach 2: The meanwhile use of space for community business:

This approach aims to tackle the rise in vacant high street and shopping centre units by providing temporary space for community businesses. This could make use of empty buildings without compromising the longer-term development plans. However, the report does highlight some challenges to meanwhile use such as disengaged landowners.

  • Approach 3: Greater collaboration:

This approach addresses the need for increased collaboration between local authorities and private sector developers to accelerate the repurposing of retail units. Whilst it is noted that the local authorities should act as a leader for this approach, a three-way collaboration between public and private stakeholders, and the community is required to maximise outputs. The report also suggests that BIDs can play a role in facilitating this.

  • Approach 4: Innovations in traditional leases and rents:

This approach recognises the need for innovative and alternative solutions to traditional lease and rent agreements as these currently act as a major barrier to new entries and growth of community businesses. Some of the proposed solutions include turnover-based leases and social value leases.

  • Approach 5: Developing a ‘community as curator’ approach:

This approach focuses on keeping the high street relevant to the local community and ensuring that it meets their needs and aspirations. As such, the local community should have significant influence on the mix of uses of the high street, and resident consultations at the end of planning projects should be eclipsed by ongoing resident engagement and discussions.