Future High Street Forum finds that good leadership leads to great high streets

Analysis of four Portas Pilot towns found that good local leadership was behind their successful reinvention. Bedminster, Dartford, Rotherham and Sydenham were examined to identify and map what lay behind their success in dealing with challenges on their high streets.

The report, produced by forum experts led by Jason Cotta of Costa Coffee, reveals the common ingredients and successful leadership behaviours were: local authority engagement, sustainable and smart investment, communicating a vision and entrepreneurial spirit.

The report concludes that any town centre, regardless of size, can really benefit from good leadership habits. It advises regular reviews to ensure constant improvement and clarity of focus. The Forum also recommends that every town centre across the country puts in place a structure, direction, and a vision for their work.

Brandon Lewis, High Streets Minister and Future High Street Forum co-chair said: “High Streets are the heartbeat of every community. The Future High Street Forum is right to say that good local leadership is the essential ingredient for creating great high streets. Their leadership proposals will help every town centre across the country achieve the success that places like Dartford have, which in turn will future proof our high streets for decades to come.”

Simon Roberts, Managing Director, Health and Beauty UK and Republic of Ireland, Alliance Boots, and Future High Street Forum Chairman said: “Boots has long been committed to the vitality of UK high streets and our work with The Future High Street Forum continues this legacy of thought leadership and active local support. We are confident that the findings in this report will help to improve the management of town centres, drive strong local leadership and deliver the healthy high streets of the future which our communities require. Our stores leadership team will be helping to implement this model with Town Centre Management teams across the UK by championing partnership and increased local collaboration with business.”

Jason Cotta, Managing Director, Costa UK Retail and Future High Street Forum project lead said: “We know what makes a high street great and what can turn a poor one around – good leadership – so the forum has developed a way to galvanise local leaders around a coherent game plan. To create Great high streets through good leadership is just one way to address the challenges faced by the high street today. These tips will help every high street no matter where they are in the country.”