North East Connected

Can Our Young People Save Our High Streets?

AS more and more money, time and effort is poured into reviving our ailing High Streets two young planners believes it’s time to let young people have their say.

Katherine Simpson, and Faye Marr, colleagues at the Newcastle office of national planning and development consultancy Lichfields have launched a ground-breaking research project.

Their Young People Town Centres survey combines a mix of online and an on-street questions designed to understand the trends driving young people’s use of town centres.

Planner Katherine Simpson, said: “For many young people a visit to the town centre is not just about a trip to the shops.

“While many town centres are evolving to meet the growing leisure demands on many younger – and, not so, young people – we would like to gain a  greater understanding of the factors which are driving this change.”

Fellow Planner Faye added: “This could provide an opportunity for retailers, operators and stakeholders to understand, adapt and develop new initiatives which have a positive impact on our town centres.”

Last November Lichfields and the North East Chamber of Commerce,  released an extensive analysis of North East High Streets with their

‘Town Centres: Planning for the Future’ report.

It concluded that with town centres currently facing numerous challenges from on-line shopping, increased competition from out of centre retail parks, and an ageing customer base, they need to adapt.

It went on to suggest a number of measures including the use of powers to tackle long-term issues of absentee landlords and dilapidated buildings and boost ‘civic pride’.

Jonathan Wallace, Senior Director and head of Lichfields’ Newcastle office, said: “Katherine and Faye’s work will shed new light on this crucial issue for the North East, and the whole of the country, and it would great to see as many young people as possible taking part.”

The survey closes on the September 22, and takes no longer than five minutes to complete online;

The results will form the basis of a Lichfields Insight report to be published later this year.

In December 2018, as part of the government’s Plan for the High Street, it launched a £675m Future High Streets Fund to help local leaders ‘implement bold new visions to transform their town centres’ with more than 300 towns and cities having bid for cash from the pot.

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