Sir John Timpson has been appointed to chair a panel of experts to advise on how to improve the future of the British high street by high streets minister Jake Berry MP.
Along with the rest of the panel, the chairman of shoe repair and key cutting chain Timpson, will focus on what consumers and local communities want from their high streets while also looking at its current challenges and possible solutions.
The panel will work in conjunction with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and will put out a call for evidence seeking what members of the public and young people in particular want from the high streets of the future.
The announcement comes at the start of Great British High Street Week (16 – 22 July 2018), a week of celebratory activity to promote The Great British High Street Awards 2018.
High streets minister Jake Berry MP said: “High streets and small businesses are the backbone of our economy and we want to see them thrive now and in the future. People care about their local high streets because they are the centres of their community. But our high streets are changing, and the government is committed to helping communities adapt.
“High streets of the future will still be commercial centres but consumers now look for a wider range of experiences, from leisure to health services. Our future high streets may well feature more homes, childcare centres and gyms to bring people back and ensure that they keep returning. I want to thank Sir John who is bringing 50 years of direct retail experience to the review.”
Sir John Timpson said: “Throughout my career, high streets and city centres have continually changed to fulfill the needs of society, but the recent shift towards more out-of-town and online shopping threatens the future of many high streets.
“The panel cannot offer an instant, quick fix, solution but we hope to identify practical and common sense decisions that will help the government provide the support that local communities and businesses need to provide the leisure and shopping facilities people will want 25 years from now.”