Changes to the region’s high streets predicted to take five years have occurred in five months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
That’s the view of high street expert, Graham Galpin, who will be leading a collaborative workshop on the topic at the Kent and Medway Business Summit in January 2021.
Businesses are being urged to attend the Summit to have their say on how high streets and town centres can be transformed. There will be an opportunity for business to share best practice as well as voice concerns with representatives of local and national bodies on board to listen.
Mr Galpin, an economic development consultant and former Cabinet Member for Town Centres for Ashford Borough Council, has been appointed by the High Streets Task Force to help communities and local government transform their high streets.
He said: “Town centres and high streets have been changing rapidly in recent years. Before Covid-19 we had been expecting a transformative change over the next five years. Covid has made that change happen in 5 months.”
“We all care about how our high streets will work in the future, but we need to understand that they will work differently.”
The panel will also include Mark Robinson, CEO of Ellandi, which has the largest shopping centre portfolio in the UK, and who is also chairman of the High Street Task Force, to lay out the potential for the region’s high streets and town centres. Peter Nutting, Leader of Shropshire County Council, will talk about their work on the Shrewsbury Big Town Plan which has been heralded as a leading project in rejuvenating town centres.
The workshop is one of four collaborative sessions to be held at the Kent and Medway Business Summit which takes place on Friday 15 January 2021 in the cutting-edge virtual conference platform, Remo.
- Necessity is the mother of invention: Innovation and productivity in Kent and Medway’s local independent food and drink sector.
- A green economy: How Kent and Medway can seize the opportunity of the de-centralisation of commuters travelling to London and create a green, sustainable economy for the region.
- New collar jobs: The opportunities and changes needed to build a regional workforce with the skills to be a part of the region’s digital, creative and cultural industries.
- Placemaking for Kent and Medway: How we can shape our future high streets.
The Summit will also feature keynote speakers on topics including the business impact of Covid-19 and Brexit, and the latest economic overview from the Bank of England. There will be updates from Kent and Medway councils on their renewal plans and Locate in Kent will give a briefing on major developments within the county.
Further keynote speakers are to be confirmed.
Tickets for the Kent and Medway Business Summit cost £10, places are strictly limited to 400.