Illustration: Sam Edwards

Government has announced a new High Streets Task Force and the launch of the second phase of a multi-million fund to transform high streets.

The task force, to be run by the Institute of Place Management (IPM), will support local leaders to revitalise high streets and town centres.

The IPM said it has put together a consortium of high street experts with a wide range of knowledge and insight, including in planning and design. As part of this offer, local authorities will also be able to access up-to-date behavioural data that will provide insights into consumer habits.

“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,” said Prof. Cathy Parker co-chair of IPM.

Over 50 towns across the country are now set to receive up to £150,000 of new funding from the government’s £675 million Future High Streets Fund in its second phase.

“The funding will breathe new life into town centres and – together with measures such as small business rate cuts and opening up empty shops – will transform our high streets for the future,” Prime Minister Theresa May commented.

The Future High Streets Fund was launched in December 2018 as part of the government’s plan for the high street.

Last month the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport together with the Architectural Heritage Fund and National Lottery Heritage Fund announced a £62 million package of support to breathe new life into historic high streets across the country, to restore historic buildings, create new work spaces and cultural venues. As part of the overall funding, £55 million has been allocated from the Future High Streets Fund.