How to improve the health of your high street

Five things you can do for your High Street

By Cathy Parker & Simon Quin, Institute of Place Management

Can you improve the health of your High Street? Newly published research suggests there are initiatives that can be effective but they require partnership and collaboration.  Town and City Centre - Institute of Place Management

Although some did better than others, many retailers posted disappointing figures for High Street sales over the Christmas period. There are many reasons for this, not least the growth in online retailing, but research by the Institute of Place Management shows that decline has been a long time in the making. The fundamental reason high streets are struggling is that decision make

 

rs and stakeholders are not adapting effectively because they don’t act collectively.

Stories about the high street are always featured each month in Place Magazine
Read more from IPM and BID Foundation in Place Magazine

The High Street UK 2020 research findings identified 201 things that can improve the vitality and viability of traditional retail areas. Not all are relevant everywhere and not all can be locally implemented. The 201 factors were assessed by leading experts as part of the research project and the five most important have been identified.

Top of the list of priorities is ensuring the trading and activity hours of the location meet the needs of the catchment. Many shops and services are stuck in a 9-5 trading pattern that does not reflect the time that many people want to use the centre, especially in places that have a high number of commuters living nearby.

 

The second area is improving the visual appearance. This can involve large projects like street improvements, better lighting and so on – but it also covers basic cleanliness. Unfortunately, too often, commercial waste and consumer litter or the poor maintenance of property act as a blight, undermining investment in the physical realm, and just putting people off.

The third priority is ensuring the mix of retailers and other services is providing the right offer. A bit like the first priority, a thorough understanding of who is and who is not using the town and why is key here. As individual landlords are free to let their properties to whoever

they please, managing the overall offer of a location is challenging. Much provision is complementary – a town may sustain a butcher, greengrocers, fishmonger and deli for example, but if any of these shut down, then it has consequences for the other shops as it is the linked trip behavior of the consumers that is keeping them all in business.

Having a shared vision and strategy for the location was the fourth priority we identified. This is the mechanism by which stakeholders can be encouraged to develop their business in line with an overall plan to improve the high street. A vision, strategy or plan is important for attracting investment from both the public and private sectors. Many town centres just do not seem to have a purpose now they are no longer the centres of retail they once were.

And in fifth place came the quality of the experience. Again, this relates to the collective offer of the location. A number of positive customer service interactions in retailers and service outlets can be wiped out immediately by a surly bus driver or a dark and foreboding multi-storey car park.

The actions that will improve footfall on the UK high streets have now been identified by our research, and you can access them with a more detailed explanation. They are available free of charge at Revive & Thrive supports the work of BID Foundation in our high streetshttp://www.placemanagement.org/jpmd-10-(4)/. Nevertheless, we do not underestimate the challenge ahead for individual locations wanting to change their prognosis. As collaboration is key to success then new governance and place management models are needed and this is one of the reasons the Institute is delighted to be working with BIDs from across the country through the new industry body www.thebidfoundation.com

 

Winchcombe jumps 753 places in it’s digital influence

Read about Winchcombe in December's Place Magazine

Winchcombe has seen an enormous rise of 753 places in the Digital Influence Index this year since working with #WDYT.

Winchcombe features in this month's Place MagazineThey have risen 37 places this month and 11 places this week overtaking towns such as Redruth (583) and Droitwich (566) which are much larger towns to a position of 561 out of 1300 towns and cities nationwide.  

Highlights in Winchcombe this month include:

The #WDYT Workshop to help retailers with their social media took place on the 13th November at the White Hart. #WDYT were delighted to welcome along Emporium Gifts and Experience Winchcombe as well as representatives from the museum.

Cotswold BoneDandelion Blue and Banbury Home have been tweeting out some great Christmas ideas, alongside Maybe collections that showcase items in their stores which generated 95 votes and 52 comments, all helping to build their digital brand awareness and footfall to Winchcombe.

#WDYT welcome Winchcombe Flowers to the campaign who have started posting with

On December 6th the #WDYT team took a walkabout on the Winchcombe high street to chat to retailers and address any social media queries. The team explained how joining the campaign will boost the town’s footfall.

More stories like this one from Winchcombe can be found in Place Magazine each month

LeedsBID to improve commercial waste and recycling for businesses

Stories about Business Improvement Districts can be found in Place Magazine

A new commercial waste and recycling collection service to be introduced in Leeds city centre aims to help save businesses money while enhancing street aesthetics.

This waste and recycling collection article can be found in Revive & Thrive's Place Magazine
Read more stories like this each month in Place Magazine

Leeds Business Improvement District (LeedsBID), working in partnership with Leeds-based Forge Recycling, is to deliver a new collection service to over 1,000 businesses.

The new service, introduced in the new year, comes in response to a LeedsBID survey which showed that 43% of its levy payers wanted to see improvements to their collection contracts.

The new trade waste service is part of LeedsBID’s business priorities to help its levy payers reduce costs while also contributing to improving the appearance of the city centre. 

LeedsBID Chief Executive Andrew Cooper said: “The contract demonstrates how businesses can work together to achieve economies of scale. The ambition is to save money, improve recycling and enhance street aesthetics by having a regular and quality waste service.”

“BIDs elsewhere in the UK have employed similar schemes and we will be working collaboratively with Forge to ensure a first-class service for all businesses in Leeds.”

Forge will be offering a seven day a week service with collections timed to ensure trade sacks and loose waste are not left out on city centre streets overnight.

When businesses sign up, they will receive a free waste audit to check how they could save money, and will be able to receive a free collection of waste cardboard each week.waste and collections service in LeedThe contract has been designed so that the more businesses who opt into the service, the more money they will all save. It is hoped that local businesses will work together to repeat the success of similar schemes elsewhere in the UK.

LeedsBID will play an ongoing role, alongside Forge, working together to increase recycling and ensuring that prices stay low over the lifetime of the contract. 

LeedsBID selected the company through an extensive competitive bidding process, designed by waste consultants Eunomia, which looked at both price and quality of service.

 

More stories like this one from Leeds BID can be found in Place Magazine each month