In this review Bill Grimsey, a seasoned retailer, called for a revamp of the business rates system, a full time high street minister and professionally led town centre committees with a long term vision for their local area. Most industry commentators agreed with these ideas – but controversy was sparked by the idea that such reforms should be funded partly by a levy on major national retailers.
Grimsey suggested that his review, unlike the Portas review published two years ago, was “in depth” and “evidence based”.
To summarise the review’s conclusions:
- Town centre/high street plans require community solutions, which incorporate housing, health, culture business and manufacturing plans and allow for daytime/evening/nightime transitions and use. Shops are only part of the plan.
- Radical government action to create a level playing field, facilitate change, encourage investment cut red tape and create common measures of success that can be tracked.
- Develop a methodology and timetable to allow local authorities to draw up town centre business plans, including timescales, and cost benefit analysis.
The report has been despatched to all political parties. Grimsey seems to believe that the Portas review and its connection to the TV show Mary Queen of Shops – made light of the issue. He hopes his report will add gravitas to the topic.
The full report can be found at http://www.vanishinghighstreet.com/