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Local leadership the 'recipe for success' on the high street

Words: Sam Waddicor
A Portas pilot high street

Local leadership has been identified as the key to a great high street, according to a new report from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

The report (pdf), published by the Future High Streets Forum looked at four Portas pilot towns to try and ascertain what lay behind their reinvention.

The group, consisting of retailers, industry bodies, local government and subject experts. gathered information from four of the 12 towns chosen to take part in the Portas Pilot scheme to regenerate their shopping districts.

The forum found four common themes between the studied areas in the scheme when it came to assessing how they created success. These were local authority engagement, sustainable funding, establishing and communicating vision, and entrepreneurial spirit.

The report crecommends five steps that could help any high street around the country:

  1. Develop a shared local vision to drive change.
  2. Create a town strategy and action plan with a clear timetable for delivery.
  3. Deliver the town strategy and action plan through expert teams.
  4. Gather data to review the town strategy and action plan.
  5. Establish insights and learning from the data.

Jason Cotta, managing director, Costa UK Retail and Future High Streets Forum project lead, said: "We know what makes a high street great and what can turn a poor one around - good leadership - so the Forum has developed a way to galvanise local leaders around a coherent game plan. To create great high streets through good leadership is just one way to address the challenges faced by the high street today. These tips will help every high street no matter where they are in the country."

Image credit: Dr Neil Clifton