The Changing Face of the High Street: Decline & Revival – A review of retail and town centre issues in historic areas
English Heritage: July 2013
The health and continued use of England’s high streets and town centres matters to us all. They are the heartbeat of their local communities, and remain places where almost all of us visit every day. However, in recent years social, demographic and technological trends have all combined to clear effect on both retailers and town centre uses and character. In many places this has in turn had an effect on local historic character embodied in their buildings, their range of uses and street pattern and layout. It would appear these changes are in all likelihood permanent in many respects. This report is the product of research commissioned by English Heritage, in partnership with the Historic Towns Forum, to better understand what has changed in recent years. It looks in detail at the current policy and retail context and what they might mean for historic town centres and high streets. Town centres and high streets are at a critical point, in many ways needing to reinforce and redefine their role and function in response to huge economic shifts and a new national planning policy context. These challenges have a particular resonance for historic town centres where the sustained and successful stewardship of historic retail districts, buildings, streets and spaces is intertwined with the ongoing health of the retail sector. The report considers emerging trends and their effect on historic high streets and town centres. It also identifies and analyses a series of case studies in different contexts, where local authorities and others have sought to renew and revive their high streets and town centres.
Successful town centres – developing effective strategies
Association of Town & City Management, March 2013
A new report and toolkit designed by the Association of Town & City Management to breathe fresh life into the UK’s town centres and high streets was launched yesterday (20th March) by the Gloucestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the government’s Retail Pathfinder.
The report, Successful town centres – developing effective strategies, offers a series of easily used tools and ideas that will empower retailers, communities and local planners to help ensure their town centres meet the changing demands of local residents and businesses. Many of the efforts recommended can be undertaken without cost to communities.
Supported by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the report and toolkit come at a time when the number of empty retail units is still a concern and online purchasing trends continues grow.
The report and toolkit can be used by communities to help them analyse their retail centres and position their destinations as one of four ‘personality’ types: global celebrities; sustainable destinations; specialists and community focused entrepreneurs. This can then be used in conjunction with the report to help retain centres make the most of their ‘personality’ and improve their economic performance.
Best of All Worlds – How hybrid models of public-service delivery can improve citizen outcomes and stimulate growth
Accenture Institute for High Performance, March 2013
Governments the world over face new fiscal realities that are forcing them to reconsider how they can best deliver public services in the future. The need to make significant cost savings, to do more with less and to tailor traditional service models more closely around the citizen calls for innovative models of provision—no single traditional model of delivery will bridge the gap.
A study of the terrain of public service provision in the United Kingdom reveals the emergence of a new model—that of hybrid organizations that combine elements of the private, public and social sectors. This new class of service delivery model represents an exciting opportunity to combine business innovation and a vibrant social ethos while pursuing public service objectives. In time, businesses and non-profits may also seek to adopt similar hybrid models.
Envisioning the library of the future
Arts Council England, May 2013
Envisioning the library of the future, a major research project undertaken over the past year, has been published. The research will help library staff, funders and users to better understand what libraries could and should look like in the future.
Valued services: The research has found that public libraries are trusted spaces, open to all, in which people continue to explore and share the joys of reading, information, knowledge and culture. People will continue to value the services that libraries provide in the future.
Challenges ahead: Envisioning the library of the future also indicates public libraries face many challenges in the coming years, including: advances in technology, which affect the ways in which people want to connect to information and culture; reduced public expenditure; the increasing involvement of citizens in the design and delivery of public services; and the needs of an ageing population.
Valuation of townscapes and pedestrianisation
Atkins for Department for Transport, February 2013
Atkins and the Institute of Transport Studies, University of Leeds were commissioned by the Department for Transport (DfT) to carry out research into users‟ valuations of townscape improvements and pedestrianisation.
Parlous of Westminster (refurbishment of Houses of Parliament)
Property Week 15 Feb 2013, pp 40-43
Reports on plans to refurbish London’s Palace of Westminster, which include closing the premises for five years and temporarily relocating the Houses of Parliament.