The UK government has launched a new High Streets Task Force to help local authorities revitalise their high streets and town centres.
Led by the Institute of Place Management (IPM), the consortium of professional bodies, experts, data providers and community networks will deliver a £8.6 million contract to breathe new life into England’s struggling town centres.
The Task Force will, through the provision of  expertise, knowledge and training, help reinvent town centres as community hubs, while supporting local authorities applying to the government’s £675 million Future High Streets Fund. This is a key part of the government’s Plan for the High Street, which identifies the need for hands-on support to help local authorities plan for future town centres.
The Landscape Institute is among the 12 High Street Task Force partners that will support IPM in delivering the project.
‘We see the wider place sector as one that needs collaborative approaches across our professional bodies,’ said LI CEO Dan Cook.
‘Many LI members and registered practices are already working closely with place, town centre and Business Improvement District (BID) managers across the UK and beyond to re imagine and redesign our high streets and public realm.
‘This is an important opportunity to consider how we reintroduce nature into our city centres. The benefits to resilience, sustainability, health and well-being that a landscape-led approach can bring will be pivotal in reinvigorating England’s high streets.’
IPM will lead the High Streets Task Force, while PricewaterhouseCoopers will manage the consortium.
The full list of partners is:
  • Pricewaterhouse Coopers
  • The Design Council
  • Royal Town Planning Institute
  • Landscape Institute
  • The BID Foundation
  • Association of Town and City Management
  • Civic Voice
  • Springboard
  • Maybe*
  • Market Innovations
  • Cardiff University
  • MyKnowledgeMap
Members and Fellows of professional and statutory bodies in the built and natural environment sectors – including the LI – will have the opportunity to get involved with the Task Force directly as High Street Task Force Experts and Mentors.
In the coming months, IPM will be compiling a register of experts in place management, landscape, planning, public realm, transport, housing and more. Experts and Mentors will be experts in their field, as demonstrated by membership of one or more of the following organisations:
  • Institute of Place Management (which includes The BID Foundation)
  • Royal Town Planning Institution
  • Landscape Institute
  • Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors
  • Design Council (registered Built Environment Experts)
All High Street Task Force Experts and Mentors will be paid at commercial rates for their time and knowledge.
The High Street Task Force will officially launch in the autumn. More information on how LI members and Fellows can get involved will follow once the Task Force is established.