The government has announced a new initiative to help revive the high street, building on last year’s Mary Portas review.
The Future High Streets Forum will advise ministers on the challenges facing high streets and develop practical policies to enable town centres to adapt and change.
It will look at issues including reinforcing ‘town centre first’ planning rules, and promoting parking solutions and good practice to help high streets attract more visitors.
The forum will also advise the country’s 27 Portas Pilots and 330 town team partners on how to adapt to a new era of online shopping and changing consumer trends.
Members include the Association of Convenience Stores, the Association of Town & City Management, the British Retail Consortium and John Lewis. It will be co-chaired by communities minister Mark Prisk and Alex Gourlay, chief executive of health & beauty division, Alliance Boots.
Mark Prisk said: “It is clear that our high streets will need to change to prosper. There is already great work being done across the country to revitalise the town centres, but it needs to spread faster. The Future High Streets Forum will help us to do that.”
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The Future High Streets Forum is a positive step towards delivering real changes to support the high street and local shops. We welcome the leadership the minister is showing on the issue.”