Photo: Hearing about what has been done in Bristol

We have today submitted our report as a draft for comments to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and for consideration by the Minister for the High Street's Expert Panel, having completed six evidence gathering sessions on the future high street

We submitted an initial version of the report following workshops in Holmfirth, Altrincham, Bristol and Shrewsbury and interviews with young market traders and those using the Teenage Market in Bolton. In early November we held a final workshop in Aldershot and we have now added this evidence to produce a final report.

The workshops were attended by a number of members of the Expert Panel on the High Street and by the town centres team at MHCLG. Those participating in the workshops were local residents, retailers, business owners, community group representatives, transport operators, venue operators, civic groups, event organisers, developers and investors, property owners, local authority officers and members, LEP representatives, board and staff members from BIDs and local parliamentarians.

In each workshop location we heard from local people involved in changing the high street, looking at what has been happening and at future plans. We shared the latest data and research trends on the changing nature of the high street and explored various forecasts for how high streets could be impacted in 2030 and beyond. Most of each workshop was dedicated to hearing from those attending and getting them involved in mapping their high street in 2030. What did they like about their high street and want to see still in existence in 2030? What did they want to see change, based on what they now knew about trends and what barriers did they see to progress?

There was a real enthusiasm for vibrant high streets and for the different opportunities they could provide. This came across from all who participated, including the teenagers we spoke with. There were concerns, there were many common issues and some that though specific to the place, may have wider relevance.

This was a very positive exercise to gain views from people who probably otherwise would not get the opportunity to input their ideas directly to policy makers. We have submitted details on all the discussions in the report. We think there are key areas where government can provide support and guidance. The clear finding from the workshops was that this support is worth doing, as the commitment of local people to their high streets was abundantly evident in every session. High Streets matter to people even when they shop online.