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The Role of Councils in Supporting and Energising our High Streets and Town Centres


High streets are at the heart of our communities and local economies, they create jobs, develop small businesses and generate billions of pounds for our economy. However, changing consumer habits and retail trends continue to present challenges for high streets and town centres.

The Centre for Retail Research (CRR) published a detailed analysis in December 2019, which highlighted approximately 50,000 fewer shops on our High Streets than just over a decade ago. In addition, according to the CRR retail failures and store closures have led to UK high streets shedding more than 2,750 jobs every week, which is more than 140,000 jobs last year alone. Furthermore, the CRR forecasts more misery in 2020 unless government steps in.

The response from government has been to announce investments into projects over the course of this year to transform town centres and high streets. In July 2019, the £3.6 billion Towns Fund was announced, including the £1 billion High Streets Fund to help high streets adapt and evolve while remaining vibrant places for their community.

Also, local councils have a responsibility for the economic and social wellbeing of the places and communities they serve, and despite the challenges are helping town centres to manage economic change by helping local businesses and investing in town centre assets.

This timely CEPHAS Public Policy symposium provides an invaluable opportunity for local authorities and other key stakeholders to discuss the latest Government thinking and explore innovative solutions to revitalise our town centres, boost economic performance and help to improve community and social integration in our high streets.

Order of the day

09:15 Registration and Morning Refreshments

10:15 Chairs Introduction

10:30 Morning Presentations

The morning session will focus on how councils are revitalising our town and city centres

  • Embracing the ‘Mars bar approach’ by building town centres where you can "work, rest and play", focusing on culture, facilities, leisure opportunities – and retail
  • Assess the pros and cons to councils buying up shopping centres and brownfield plots
  • Increasing connectivity through digital development – consider how high speed public WiFi can be a key component to the revival of our town centres and high streets
  • Case Study: Converting failing stores into hubs of local services for the elderly and the potential benefits for High Streets and other local shops

11:30 Morning Coffee Break

11:45 Open Floor Deliberation and Debate

12:45 Networking Lunch

13:30 Afternoon Presentations

The afternoon session will consider other key factors including the latest Government efforts to support the country’s high streets

  • Review latest government funding and support for high streets including announcements from the Future High Streets Fund, the Towns Fund and the work of The High Streets Task Force
  • Understand the latest data and footfall trends and what they tell us
  • Discuss the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee’s recommendation that the business rates system needs to be modernised and should business rates be localised
  • Consider the Open Doors pilot scheme matching empty properties with community groups looking for space

14:30 Afternoon Coffee Break

14:45 Open Floor Deliberation and Debate

15:45 Chair’s Closing Remarks and Networking Reception

16:30 Close

Who should attend?

Please note the below list is not exclusive, therefore do not be discouraged from attending this event if your organisation or job title is not listed below.

  • Local Authorities
  • Town Teams
  • Local Authority Planners
  • Local Government Planning Committees
  • Local Planning Authorities
  • Town Centre Managers
  • Local and National Businesses
  • Banking, Property and Retail Sectors
  • Retailers, Landlords and Investors
  • Property Sector Trade Organisations
  • Local Authority Policymakers in Environmental Services
  • Directors of Economy and Environment
  • Environmental Health/ Enforcement Officers
  • National Trade Associations
  • Councillors and Key Town Centre Stakeholders
  • Tourism Managers
  • Property Management Officers
  • Estate Agent Associations
  • Retailers and Leisure Operators
  • Property Experts
  • Investors and Developers
  • Local Government Environmental Specialists
  • Planning Consultants and Surveyors
  • Urban Designers and Architects
  • Architectural Liaison Officers
  • Leading Members/Officers Responsible for Regeneration and the Environment
  • Community Development Officers
  • Neighbourhood Management Teams
  • Civil Enforcement Officers
  • Community Safety Managers
  • Local Authority Parking and Traffic Management Teams
  • Action for Market Towns
  • High Street Business Associations
  • British Chambers of Commerce
  • British Business Improvement Districts
  • Small Business Federations
  • Local Enterprise Partnerships
  • Management Consultancies Associations
  • Conservation Trusts
  • Transport Managers
  • Licensing Authorities
  • Charities
  • Voluntary Organisations
  • Third Sector Practitioners


Event Properties

Event Date 28-09-2021 9:30 am
Event End Date 28-09-2021 4:30 pm
Central Government Departments and Executive Agencies, NDPBs Register Now
Local Authority, Public Education Bodies, Police, Fire Services and NHS Bodies, National Charity, Regional Charity Register Now
Local Charity and Voluntary Organisations, Community Organisations Register Now
8 Northumberland Avenue, London, WC2N 5BY
8 Northumberland Avenue
8 Northumberland Avenue, London, WC2N 5BY

Pricing Guide

Private Sector, Central Government Departments and Executive Agencies, NDPBs Local Authority, Public Education Bodies, Police, Fire Services and NHS Bodies, National Charity, Regional Charity Local Charity and Voluntary Organisations, Community Organisations


1 Place £375

2+ Places £325 each


1 Place £295

2+ Places £255 each


1 Place £185

2+ Places £165 each

Speakers Include:

Diane Wehrle, Marketing and Insights Director, Springboard

Dr. Steve Millington, Director, Institute of Place Management
Emily Berwyn, Director, Meanwhile Space
Daniel Whytock, Co-founder & CEO,
Graham Galpin MSc FIPM, Town Centre Place Changer, Fellow of the Institute of Place Management and former member of the Expert Advisory Panel on High Streets
Ben Wrighton, Director, Head of Planning London, Turley
Nigel Havens, Managing Director, Havens, Trustee of SAVS ( Southend Association of Voluntary services) and On the Executive Board of The Southend Business Partnership (joint Business and Council sounding Group)
Cllr Rachel Eden, ACMA, Director, Holy Brook Associates, Local Government Association, Reading Borough Council
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Company Information

Registered in England under Company Number 10496875

Registered Office: Comer business & innovation centre
Building 3
North London business park
Oakleigh Rd South N11 1GN

VAT Registration Number: 261 4677 93

Contact Information

Contact number: 07966 570 339


CEPHAS Public Policy Communications Ltd
Comer business & innovation centre
Building 3
North London business park
Oakleigh Rd South N11 1GN