ATCM to create framework for UK's first retail Pathfinder
The Association of Town Centre Management has been commissioned to create a framework for the UKs first retail Pathfinder to understand how high streets become successful.
GFirst, which drives Gloucestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, has commissioned the ATCM to undertake the project which will support its role as the national LEP retail Pathfinder.
The framework will be used to understand how high streets become successful, taking into account local heritage, culture and local communities in addition to economic performance.
Andres Coca-Stefaniak, international & research partnerships manager at the ATCM, explained: "Recent reports from the UK Government and the European Commission point out that successful town and city centres adopt a holistic approach to their offer to visitors, residents and businesses, with diverse retail still at the heart of it but also making the best of their local heritage, culture and local communities.
"This project will help us to further explore this concept and offer recommendations based on an analysis of retail ‘exemplar towns’ and linking directly to a single proposed national evaluation framework.
"Our early findings on the project show that traditional approaches to the evaluation of the performance of high streets have been carried out without a clear national framework and have focused primarily on economic success."
Earlier this year Gloucestershire LEP was announced as the Government’s first retail Pathfinder tasked with looking at ways to promote, showcase and recommend improvements in the retail sector to Government.
As part of this work, the body is developing an exemplar towns framework which will provide a national framework enabling towns and cities to better assess their growth strategies, which focus on the high streets.
The ATCM will lead this project for Gloucestershire LEP with contributions from a number of private sector organisations.
Diane Savory, chair of the Gloucestershire LEP, said: "We know that some high streets are thriving while others are seeing a significant decline and we want to drill down into the reasons for this.
"The project will identify successful towns within the United Kingdom and assess them in more detail to identify the most significant barriers and contributors to their performance. We hope these findings will then be adopted around the UK to boost our high streets and ensure that they are some of the best in the world."
The results of the project will be revealed next March.
ATCM chief executive Martin Blackwell added: "We are at a major turning point for our towns and cities, so providing a framework which is up to date and provides timely information is just what is needed. We are delighted to be working with the Gloucestershire LEP and GFirst on this exciting project."
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