Supporting Historic High Streets Webinars:
Changing Visions for High Streets

Thursdays 10, 17 & 24 June 2021, 12-2pm

Tickets £5-30 for each date

Continuing our popular series on Supporting Historic High Streets, this series of webinars will explore the future of city and town centres, the stores that once anchored them, and the role of place-making.

Well before the pandemic, the High Street’s battle against out-of-town and online shopping was in full flow, and ideas about adding leisure activities and a wider range of experiences and uses were coming to the fore. High streets have always reflected our built and social heritage - attracting trade and customers to the latest places, and creating centres to share ideas or just people-watch. Yet in recent years, the characteristics of 'clone towns' have predominated, with towns vying for the same high street chains to take retail space.

With the radical shift in footfall and spending patterns in 2020-21, this vision has crumbled and since the credit crunch years many more household retail names have closed, such as Laura Ashley and Debenhams. At the same time the public realm has acquired a new value and status, and the importance of place-making for everyone is evident.

This webinar will look the opportunities and potential threats presented by the 2020 change in Use Classes (and those coming in 2021) to rethink the role of town centre retail space and how to bring life back to historic high streets.

For professionals and communities alike, this is an important theme in the debate about future town centres.

Delegates will learn about:

• The new profile of town and city centres - footfall, spending patterns and vacancy rates

• Strategies being adopted by local councils, land owners and developers to manage this shifting market

• The role of place-making in attracting people back to high streets as places to move about and linger

• The range of other uses taking up vacant shop units and city centre buildings to bring change

• The role of local heritage assets and social history in reclaiming 'clone' towns, and

• The 2020 changes to Use Classes and amendments in July 2021 introducing far greater flexibility in town centre uses and activity.

Speakers on Thursday 10 June 2021:

Introduction: Chair – Dr Steven Parissien, Director of Studies in the Historic Environment, Department for Continuing Education, University of Oxford

Footfall, vacancy rates and spending patterns as COVID restrictions lift, Jonathan Burnett, High Streets Manager, Springboard Research

25 Priorities for Vital and Viable High Streets, Dr Nikos Ntounis, Senior Research Associate, Institute of Place Management & Lecturer in Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University

Canterbury’s Guildhall Quarter - mixed use plans for Debenhams, Canterbury, Karl Elliott, Managing Partner, Clague Architects

Transforming Oxford’s Boswells into The Store Hotel, Jon Alsop, Savills.

Speakers on Thursday 17 June 2021:

• Introduction: Chair – Louise Thomas, Director, HTVF

• Revitalising Town Centres Toolkit and North Tyneside, Chris Wade, Director, People and Places Partnership

• Investing in Stockton’s town centre places and spaces, Richard McGuckin, Director of Town Centres Investment at Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, leading the Town Centres Investment Programme

• Using Data and Tech to support High Street Heritage Action Zones, Toyubur Rahman, Place Management Advisor and Partner, Ethos

• Nottingham’s Broadmarsh Park, Sara Boland, Managing Director, Influence Landscape Architects.

Speakers on Thursday 24th June:

Introduction: Chair - Christina Duckett, Principal Conservation Officer, Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council

Changing Use Classes, Matthew Sobic, Director, Savills TBC

Repurposing Gloucester’s Debenhams as a new student venue, Stephen Marston, Vice Chancellor, University of Gloucestershire

Meanwhile in Oxfordshire – developing temporary uses across five local authorities, Emma Gordon, Director, Make Space

Bury St Edmunds: Rescuing The Old Post Office, the community view, Peter Riddington, Chair of Bury St Edmunds Town Trust and Consultant, Donald Insall Associates

Bury’s Old Post Office: Developing proposals for a new future, the architects’ view, Tanvir Hasan, Deputy Chairman, Donald Insall Associates.

Tickets are available to buy for all three dates, or individual events. Each date counts as 2 hours of CPD. Save money today by joining the Historic Towns and Villages Forum - see for details!

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