Meeting to shape our built environment

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21st Century High Streets and Town Centres Seminar

Swale House, Sittingbourne, Wednesday 26 November 2014

This half-day seminar offered fresh thinking on the challenges of the 21st century high street and town centre. Set against the backdrop of continuing high shop vacancy rates, rising business rates squeezing independent operators out, increasing online shopping and approvals for out of town retail space, a series of influential speakers refocused attention on the community and place-making qualities of the high street and town centre. This event was aimed at town centre managers, local authority officers, town teams, urban developers, retailers, digital developers and small teams with an interest in their role in the future of the high street.

Key themes covered:

  • an overview of recent government and other reviews on the future of high streets
  • the role of ‘place’ in creating desirable and attractive high streets and town centres
  • innovation in town centre uses and alternative retail solutions to encourage increased footfall
  • technology to enhance the digital presence of businesses and events
  • town centre management and governance strategies to encourage long term investment

Speakers included:

  • Dr Samer Bageean: Principal Lecturer, University of Brighton
  • Tim Brennan: Senior Regeneration Advisor, English Heritage
  • Eddie Bridgeman: Director, Meanwhile Spaces CIC
  • Phil Campbell: Digital Creative
  • Bob Jones: Executive Chairman, Canterbury City Partnership
  • Angela Koch: Director, ImaginePlaces
  • Jill Read: Renegeration Officer (Town Centres), Swale Borough Council
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