UK High Streets are facing an unprecedented period of turbulent change. Even before the pandemic, the global economic crisis of 2007-2009 along with the development of out-of-town shopping and the growth of online retailing have all directly affected the vibrancy of high streets, leading to store closures, household brands disappearing and the threat of unemployment for thousands of local people.
To tackle this challenge, Labour will focus its efforts on helping town centres adapt to these seismic changes firstly through re-imagining what town centre space is for and how local people and visitors wish to enjoy it, and secondly by looking for opportunities to physically re-purpose space to build stronger communities.
What will Labour do?
As leaders of Cheshire West and Chester Council and in partnership with Labour MPs in our area, Labour will:
- Work in partnership with local businesses, residents and civic leaders to create plans for individual town centres and high streets that focus on customer experience and will help to create places where people want to live, work, learn or visit.
- Deliver regeneration and housing programmes which provide solutions to the challenges faced by local communities, including investing in social projects as well physical change, so that regeneration benefits local people, it gives them pride about where they live, and so this investment brings communities together.
- Look for opportunities to develop high streets and town centres as community hubs, bringing together libraries, local services, markets, retail, hospitality and visitor attractions, alongside residential, transport hubs and workspace wherever possible.
- Create Landlord Forums in towns to try and work collaboratively with property owners on plans to bring vacant or under-used property back in to use.
- Implement a digital signage strategy for town centres that will support local businesses to promote themselves, improve how the council and other organisations provide public information and modernise the way we manage town centres.
- Work with the LEP and Marketing Cheshire to strengthen our marketing of local areas.