A panel of experts led by Sir John Timpson, chairman of dry cleaner and shoe repair retailer Timpson, has been appointed by the government to look at the challenges facing the UK high street.
The panel will focus on what consumers and local communities want from their high streets and review how best to ensure town centres remain vibrant. Other members of the panel include Emma Mackenzie, director of property investor NewRiver and former director general of the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Stephen Roberts.
High streets minister Jake Berry MP said: “High streets and small businesses are the backbone of our economy and we want to see them thrive now and in the future.
“People care about their local high streets because they are the centres of their community.
But our high streets are changing, and the Government is committed to helping communities adapt. High streets of the future will still be commercial centres but consumers now look for a wider range of experiences, from leisure to health services. Our future high streets may well feature more homes, childcare centres and gyms to bring people back and ensure that they keep returning.”
Timpson added: “Throughout my career, high streets and city centres have continually changed to fulfill the needs of society, but the recent shift towards more out of town and online shopping threatens the future of many high streets. The panel cannot offer an instant, quick fix, solution but we hope to identify practical and common-sense decisions that will help the Government provide the support that local communities and businesses need to provide the leisure and shopping facilities people will want 25 years from now.”
The panel will call for evidence from the public and particularly from young people asking what they want from the high street of the future.