Clockwise from top left: Shuker, Roe and Norris
Two consultancies have announced that some of their senior planners are among the professionals appointed as expert advisors by a government-commissioned task force to support its work in reviving the country's struggling high streets.
Commissioned by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) in 2019, the High Streets Task Force (HSTF) is a group of placemaking professionals brought together to provide support and skills for communities and local authorities in improving their town centres.
The task force was launched in May 2019 by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, and is run by the Institute of Place Management on behalf of the government.
Last month, the task force announced it had appointed "over 150 experienced professionals to work with towns in England over the next four years, supporting their transformation efforts and helping to tackle complex barriers to change". The appointments would form a new "experts register" made up of professionals from across the built environment.
Property firm Lambert Smith Hampton has announced that its national head of planning, development and regeneration, Dr Steven Norris, and Paul Shuker, a director based in the firm’s Manchester office, have both been appointed as expert advisors to the body.
“Although hard to imagine in the midst of Lockdown 2.0, now is the time to grasp the nettle, to review and reimagine our towns and cities, and create attractive, sustainable and smart places that meet the needs of our communities, businesses and future generations,” said Norris.
“Paul and I are passionate about saving our town centres and our appointment to the High Streets Task Force represents another critical partnership and an opportunity to utilise our considerable knowledge and expertise to help effect positive change on a national scale.”
Meanwhile, Nicole Roe, a planning associate at consultancy Barton Willmore has also been appointed.
In a statement from the firm, Roe said that diversity is key to a successful high street. She said: “There are lots of different measures of what makes a ‘good’ or ‘failing’ high street but ultimately we need our high streets to provide a wide range of services to meet our day to day needs.”
She added: “We must provide local authorities with the means to adapt high streets to meet market demand.”