Future High Street Summit announces speaker line-up for 2015 session

The Future High Street Summit has recently revealed the guest speakers for its 2015 session, with the event also to be the first to present the findings of a brand new report on the challenges faced by the UK’s towns and cities.

The report is the result of collaboration between professional bodies in the regeneration industry, including the Institute of Economic Development (IED), the Association of Town and City Management, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and the Town and Country Planning Association.

Keith Burge, managing director of research consultancy ERS, will present the findings at the Future High Street Summit, with evidence that industry leaders remain committed to the UK’s town and cities. He commented, “This is the first time that leading professional bodies working in economic development and regeneration have offered collective views from people who work in and care about our underperforming towns and cities.”

Burge will speak alongside Craig McLaren, director of Scotland and Ireland at RTPI, who will discuss the need to think beyond the High Street and retailing to promote enterprise and community in town centres. This will draw on experiences in Scotland and the approach being taken through its Town Centre Action Plan.

The two will host a summit alongside other expert speakers asking “What are the characteristics of a successful high street?” and dissecting  the commonalities and differences between success and failure in town and city centres.

Clare Rayner, Founder of the Future High Street, commented, “We’re very excited to hear what these industry leaders believe are the main barriers to development in the UK’s towns and cities.”

She continued: “Our event is all about high street regeneration and we want delegates to see that there is help out there. This report will demonstrate where the problems lie and help our attendees address those issues in their own communities.”

Also speaking are Ian Jackson and Adrian Farmer, who were integral campaigners in the recent win for Derbyshire town, Belper, which last week was awarded the Winner of Winners in the Great British High Street Awards, after winning first place in the Market Town category. Jackson and Farmer will deliver a joint presentation to demonstrate Belper’s achievements and the commitment behind them.

The session’s final speaker, Alistair Barr, founder and managing director of Barr Gazetas Architects, will lead delegates through an analysis of four very different retail environments which the firm is currently designing: Greenwich High Street, Camden Market, Christchurch High Street and Regent Street.

He will demonstrate how a people-centric approach to designing these built areas is the key to improving the retail experience and will share his ideas on how to transform any high street into a future-proof, flexible shopping environment.

The Future High Street will be held at Nottingham Conference Centre within Nottingham Trent University on 25th and 26th March. For more information on the event and to see an outline agenda with the other featured high street factors, delegates can visit the Future High Street Summit website.

Tickets for the conference are on sale now and attendees can sign up at Futurehighstreet.co.uk/register.