The High Streets Task Force has appointed 150 professionals to work with local authorities in England over the next four years, supporting their evolution and response to Covid-19.
Towns in England will receive advice on progressing local plans, bidding for investment and helping the high street post-pandemic.
The ‘experts register’ is made up of professionals from a ‘‘broad range’’ of specialisms, including architecture to civic engagement.
The Task Force has recruited highly qualified experts from leading national bodies: Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), Landscape Institute, Design Council, and the Institute of Place Management.
Rob Pearson, executive director of Nexus Planning and appointed High Streets Task Force expert, said: ‘‘This is such a wonderful opportunity to actively participate in re-imagining our high streets.
‘‘I am most looking forward to meeting key stakeholders in the places they live, work and shop, in order to understand what makes each individual place tick, and also perhaps to challenge some of the old conventions around town centres and their modern-day function.’’
Professor Cathy Parker, co-director of the Institute of Place Management and research lead for the High Streets Task Force, said: ‘‘Our work with high streets has shown the vast range of strategic and practical issues that local authorities and other actors have to address, particularly after the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘‘There are the very current challenges of ensuring communities can use their high streets with confidence, providing appropriate support for businesses and other organisations. At the same time, place leaders are managing the evolution of centres so they become vibrant community hubs.’’
She added: ‘‘The Task Force recognises that it’s very difficult for one place to have all the answers to all these challenges. Our experts, mentors and facilitators will help to build that capacity, providing expertise that’s really needed and simplifying the advisory landscape for places that are busy getting on with change.’’