Mary Portas has revealed that a minister will be allocated a ‘town centre’ remit before March, when a Government response to the review is expected.
Portas, who had just stepped out of a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron this afternoon when she revealed the plans, was appointed by Government earlier this year to assess what can be done to revive the UK’s high streets.
“They are looking to allocate a minister for town centres, which will be a first,” said Portas.
The next stage of the process will include running a number of ‘High Street Pilots’ to test the concept. Portas said although no towns have yet been chosen to take part in the pilot this had formed part of her discussions with Cameron. She added one method of deciding which towns would take part, and one she prefers, is to allow town residents to vote. “I love the idea of every town mobilising themselves,” Portas said.
Portas, who was drafted in by Government earlier this year to assess what can be done to revive the UK’s high streets, set out her 28 recommendations to revive the UK’s high street in Westminster, London this morning.
Among her recommendations Portas suggested that “Town Teams” should be put in place to help create a “visionary, strategic and strong operational management team for high streets”. She also said a new “National Market Day” should be established where budding shopkeepers can try their hand at operating a low-cost retail business.
Further suggestions include a parking league table, a public register of high street landlords and Portas also suggested that large retailers should support and mentor local businesses and independent retailers. For further information on Portas’ 28 recommendations click here.
Over the last seven months, Portas has visited towns across the UK to find out how various regions are suffering or prospering to include the findings in her report. The retail guru urged local councils to work closely with retailers to create a brand identity for local high streets.