The Association for Town Centre Management (ACTM) has just launched a new website called 100 Ways [www.100ways.org.uk] detailing 100 ways to help the UK’s high streets. It describes itself as “the first port of call for those looking to make their town centres vibrant and viable.”
The scheme was developed to coincide with the Portas Pilots programme – a government scheme to revitalise Britain’s ailing town centres – headed up retail expert by Mary Portas, as mentioned in one of our previous Barber blog posts a couple of weeks ago.
The 100 Ways website is designed for new Town teams, Town Centre Managers, Business Improvement Districts (BIDS) and Economic Development Officers who want to regenerate our town centres and revive the high street.
371 Town Centre managers bid for funding and support from the Portas Pilots scheme, which was only allowed to choose 12 towns for the final project. Those that were unsuccessful in their funding are now being encouraged to use the new 100 Ways online toolkit which is collection of resources, case studies and ideas including how to enhance the landscape, how to develop partnerships, re-imagining urban spaces and getting the right balance business in one location.
100 Ways also explains how the governments new Localism Act (2011) addresses the National Planning Policy Framework, offering new powers to local authorities, communities and businesses, enabling them to make more rapid changes without being so restricted by red tape and promoting diversification and positive innovation.
The chief executive of the ACTM, Martin Blackwell describes the resource as a response to the rise in vacant retail premises caused by the recession and depressed consumer spending:
“Interest from the government and support in particular from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the European Regional Development Fund has enabled the creation of this new on-line resource…(100 Ways)… will become a valuable first port of call for high street regeneration.
“Some of the schemes available here are more ambitious than others and some more expensive to put in place. ‘100 Ways’ is a pick and mix and is an evolving project that will grow and expand, showcasing new examples of best practice in town centre management for years to come.
“Regardless of your town centre’s size, whether or not you have developed a mature partnership and whatever your budget, success is achievable through cooperation.”