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14.05.18

Future of ‘struggling’ high streets to be assessed in new government inquiry

The future of England’s high streets and town centres are set to be reviewed in a new inquiry launched by a government committee.

The inquiry, backed by the Housing, Communities and Local Government (HCLG) Committee, will assess the future role of the high street and town centre in 2030 and its contribution to the local community and economy.

In evaluating the impact of the town centre on the health, cohesion and cultural life of the local community, the inquiry will also look into how local councils are forward-planning for the future of their high streets. Involved in this future planning will involve the taking into account of local council planning, licensing and tax raising amongst other measures to revitalise local shopping areas.

Earlier this year Oldham Council began its search for a development partner to deliver its £350m town centre ‘masterplan.’ Late in 2017 Croydon Council approved a massive £1.4bn makeover of its town centre that could bring in 7,000 jobs and 1,000 new homes.

Chair of the committee Clive Betts said: “Our high streets and town centres have an important social, civic and cultural place in our society. But, many of our high streets are now struggling, facing a range of challenges including the threat posed by online retailers. Indeed, changing trends and behaviours in recent decades – driven by a range of economic, demographic, social and technological factors – have affected the prosperity and vibrancy of our high streets.

“High streets and town centres retain an important place in our society but what do we want them to look like in 2030 and what actions do we need from local and central government to ensure their longevity?”

The committee is accepting thoughts from locals about why their high street is important and what could be improved about it. The public can tweet their views and pictures of their high street on #myhighstreetmatters to @CommonsHCLG.

Written submissions are also accepted here. The closing date for written submissions is June 22.

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