England's high streets to be revitalised with help of new government Task Force

Government awards £8.6 million to consortium led by Manchester Metropolitan University

The regeneration of high streets in England has received a boost with the creation of a new Task Force that forms part of the Government's Plan for the High Street.

The University’s Institute of Place Management (IPM) has been awarded an £8.6 million contract to lead the High Streets Task Force and deliver support to local authorities and communities who want to transform their high streets.

Announcing the Task Force, High Streets Minister Jake Berry MP said: “High streets and the way we use them are changing, and this Government is committed to helping communities to adapt. We want to see vibrant town centres where people live, shop, use services and spend their leisure time.  

“But in order to evolve successfully, high streets must meet the needs of their local community and the key to this is strong local leadership. This is why we are providing additional support through a High Streets Taskforce, drawing on the best expert advice, training and data that’s available.”

The IPM will head up a strong consortium of professional bodies, experts, data providers and community networks (details below), who will provide expertise, knowledge, training and support to those involved in helping to regenerate town and city centres across the country.

The High Streets Task Force will also help to reinvent town centres as community hubs, while supporting local authorities applying to the Government’s £675 million Future High Street Fund.

Leading the new consortium, the IPM brings proven experience and expertise to the regeneration of high streets. The Institute was previously commissioned by the government to collect evidence and contribute to the influential “High Street Report”, published in December 2018. 

Professor Cathy Parker, Co-Chair of the IPM at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “We are looking forward to working with our partners through the High Streets Task Force. With support and investment from the government and professionals across the country, we have a fantastic opportunity to develop places that are really valued by the local communities they serve.”

The IPM is already an authoritative voice for the high street and, with over 500 professional members and representing close to 100 Business Improvement Districts through The BID Foundation, will be building on existing expertise and data to add intelligence and insight around the needs of England’s town centre communities.

Commenting on the new High Streets Task Force, Simon Quin, Co-Chair of the IPM at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: "Many of England’s high streets are at crisis point and are not the bustling hearts of their communities that they once were. Action needs to be taken locally and the Task Force will help councils, businesses and communities to make this happen.

“As the professional body that supports people committed to developing, managing and making places better, the IPM is perfectly placed to support the regeneration of high streets across the country.

Dr Steve Millington, Director of the IPM at Manchester Metropolitan University, added: “Our research has been instrumental in changing the understanding of how high streets function and how important local communities are to their regeneration. 

 “We are delighted to have been chosen to lead this important initiative and are very grateful for the support from our consortium of partners.”

While the IPM will lead the High Streets Task Force, the consortium will be managed by multinational professional services network PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). 

The Task Force will form immediately with planning meetings held this month and pilot delivery due start by September 2019. It will be fully operational by July 2020.

The Task Force is a key part of the government's “Plan for the High Street”, which includes the Future High Street Fund. The recent Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s review of the UK’s high streets, chaired by Sir John Timpson, identified the need for hands-on support to help plan for future town centres.

The government has already announced cuts to business rates for smaller retailers in the UK in an effort to revitalise retail on the high street. 

About the High Streets Task Force Consortium

The High Streets Task Force will be led by the Institute of Place Management at Manchester Metropolitan University working alongside a consortium who bring broad experience of working in town centres.

IPM will provide the underpinning research and knowledge to develop the overall proposition to meet the needs of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government's specification of a High Streets Task Force.

Formed in 2006, the Institute of Place Management (IPM) is the international professional body that supports people committed to developing, managing and making places better. As part of Manchester Metropolitan University, the IPM works with policy makers, practitioners and providers to identify the core skills and competences involved in the effective management, development and marketing of places. For more information visit www.placemanagement.org

Consortium Partners who will work in the Task Force are:


For more information contact ipm@mmu.ac.uk

 2nd July 2019