More

    Five ways West Midlands’ new mayor Richard Parker wants to ‘revitalise’ region’s high streets

    Richard Parker

    By: Alexander Brock, Local Democracy Reporter

    Richard Parker has been getting to grips with his new role as mayor of the West Midlands this week after he narrowly ousted Andy Street.

    The Labour candidate beat the former mayor Andy Street by around 1,500 votes when the result was announced last Saturday and has since been working on delivering what he called a “fresh start” for the region.

    During his acceptance speech, Mr Parker set out a number of his priorities – public transport, new homes and delivering jobs among them.

    But what other changes could residents see, particularly in their towns and high streets, with the first Labour mayor since the post was created in 2017?

    His manifesto, published during the election, provides insight into the changes he wants to introduce and how he wants to bring “pride” back to the region’s towns.

    “We are proud of where we live,” it reads. “So we will back our pride to secure additional investment for safe and vibrant high streets, crack down on retail crime and anti-social behaviour and work with councils, traders and Business Improvement Districts to increase security measures.

    “No place will be left behind.”

    Here’s a look at five ways Mr  Parker has said he wants to “revitalise” the region’s high streets.

    1: Plans for empty shops

    One pledge featured in Mr Parker’s manifesto is to give councils powers to take back empty shops for new businesses.

    It continues: “We will utilise new powers from a Labour government to bring empty shops on our high streets back into use to help businesses to set up, in partnership with Business Improvement Districts and councils via a range of measures such as compulsory purchasing orders, ‘meanwhile’ uses and flexible business rates.”

    He also wants to establish a new Local High Streets Taskforce to “innovate and regenerate” empty shops and to identify derelict sites that can be put back into use.

    “We will also look to establish an empty property register for our high streets and a proactive introductions system, which will work with partners to search for occupiers and promote empty spaces,” his manifesto adds.

    2: New markets

    Markets are another key focus for Mr Parker as he begins his term as mayor of the West Midlands.

    One pledge is to fund market stalls for traders in the region.

    He also wants to bring new markets to town centres and “breathe new life into high streets.”

    3: Anti-social behaviour

    Mr Parker’s manifesto also includes proposals to introduce targeted town centre patrols on high streets blighted by anti-social behaviour and crime.

    He also wants to work with councils, traders and Business Improvement Districts to increase security measures.

    Mr Parker has said he will work closely with the Police and Crime Commissioner, councils, faith and community groups and West Midlands Police to make streets safer.

    “Anti-social behaviour blights the lives of many people and we know that having visible policing out on the streets tackling crime, gathering intelligence and cracking down on anti-social behaviour is essential to making our communities safer,” his manifesto says.

    “We will guarantee town centre patrols dedicated to their areas.”

    4: ‘Imaginative design’

    According to his manifesto, Mr Parker also intends to work with councils to set “high standards” for the ways high streets and shopping parades look with “imaginative public realm design and shop front improvements”.

    Through working with councils, he also wants to ensure there is a “proper plan” for all of the region’s high streets and campaign for more funding.

    5: Banking hubs

    One key pledge in Mr Parker’s manifesto is to introduce banking hubs so all residents have access to a local branch and to increase footfall on “struggling” high streets.

    It continues: “We will explore this with our partners, financial bodies, Business Improvement Districts and Councils to find innovative ways to secure local access to banking and where these could locate such as within council and local facilities.”

    (Local Democracy Reporting Service)

    Latest

    FBC UK extends Crunch Creams range with two new flavours

    Fox’s Burton’s Companies (FBC UK) is adding two new...

    Rustlers turns up the volume for the next instalment of ‘Boost Your Burger’ campaign

    Retailers can give their shoppers hundreds of chances to...

    Hundreds of prizes up for grabs with Whaoo! Crêpes on-pack promotion!

    Whaoo! filled crêpes, from French bakery experts Norac Foods...

    FBC UK partners with Ferrara Candy to import Nerds

    Fox’s Burton’s Companies UK (FBC UK), Britain’s second biggest...

    Don't miss

    FBC UK extends Crunch Creams range with two new flavours

    Fox’s Burton’s Companies (FBC UK) is adding two new...

    Rustlers turns up the volume for the next instalment of ‘Boost Your Burger’ campaign

    Retailers can give their shoppers hundreds of chances to...

    Hundreds of prizes up for grabs with Whaoo! Crêpes on-pack promotion!

    Whaoo! filled crêpes, from French bakery experts Norac Foods...

    FBC UK partners with Ferrara Candy to import Nerds

    Fox’s Burton’s Companies UK (FBC UK), Britain’s second biggest...

    Gravesend Premier store stripped of alcohol licence

    A Premier store in Kent has been stripped of...

    Gravesend Premier store stripped of alcohol licence

    A Premier store in Kent has been stripped of its licence to sell alcohol after repeatedly selling booze to local street drinkers on credit...

    Dominic Hall elected president of SPAR International  

    Dominic Hall, joint managing director of James Hall & Co Ltd, has been elected president of SPAR International.  The announcement of the inaugural election of...

    New study reveals consumer trends ahead of Paris Olympics

    More than half of high-income households across the top six European grocery markets are expected to catch Paris Olympics at home, a recent report...