Bill Grimsey calls for new localised approach to saving high streets

Bill Grimsey calls for new localised approach to saving high streets
Bill Grimsey say issues for local high streets are “simply too big for Westminster”.
// Retail guru Brill Grimsey says business rates should be scrapped and replaced with simpler 2% tax system
// New review calls for town centres and high streets to be run on localised level
// Grimsey says post-COVID-19 presents a “golden opportunity to repair their neglected social fabric” of high streets

The former chief executive of Wickes, Bill Grimsey has recommended high streets take on a “massive shift in power” away from central government, instead empowering local communities to develop their high streets.

In a new review of the high street titled Build, Back, Better, Grimsey argues that for town centres and high streets to thrive after COVID-19, they will need to rediscover their community purpose.

READ MORE: Retail guru Bill Grimsey relaunches retail taskforce amid high street crisis

The retail veteran believes this can be achieved by moving power to run the high street away from central government and into local communities.

“Local people must be empowered to redesign their own high streets and have a say on the businesses, services and amenities that occupy it,” said Grimsey.

Local leaders, expansion of green spaces, parks and town squares were also high on Grimsey’s agenda.

“Our towns and cities must no longer be designed solely around the car as people learn to appreciate the benefit of open spaces,” he added.

Whilst the latest Grimsey review stated that COVID-19 had “accelerated the demise of town centres and high streets as shopping destinations,” Grimsey also presented an optimistic outlook for the scale of the task ahead.

“Faced with the huge challenge of rebuilding our high streets, we are presented with a golden opportunity to repair their neglected social fabric, lead a values-led period of social renewal and deliver lasting change.”

Grimsey argued that the challenges faced by high streets are “simply too big for Westminster” and called for local leadership away from government to head up changes.

The review detailed 27 recommendations, including removing business rates and replacing them with a 2 per cent sales tax that will raise the same amount as before and “level the playing field between online and offline retailers”.

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  1. The business rates need reforming. I’m sorry to say Mr Gates but I don’t like shopping at small independent traders as they are nothing but problems usually and the town I live in does not offer the choice I like or expect.

    Even the nearest city I tend to shop at has seen a poor reduction in choice for retail.
    I like chains and indies not one over the other say all chains and no indi’s or vice versa.

    The city council own the shopping centre there which people have criticised but it appears they are getting rid of admin prone retailers like Clinton, Game and replacing them with people with good covenants. I was also told they are going over to monthly rents at what the market can support. Business Rates is for the government to reform and it needs being based on turnover of store and the local economy. If it isn’t done High Street retail will die.

  2. We cannot let the High st die . Over the last decade or more ,shopping has become a social activity, if this is taken away and put online, we will create more of an isolated society with more mental health, obesity and violence . People need to get out and be in the community.It doesn’t matter if they shop alone, as they will interact with people along the way .This is a huge problem as i agree, with Mr Gromsey, local people should work with their High st to create retail that fits their community. This will also make visiting these towns etc more interesting for visitors, as at present every town looks the same with the same generic shops .
    This will also generate more tourism from not only our shores, but also internationally
    We must now think out of the box and stop making large holding companies dictate.
    Now, I don’t know how this may work, but we must use our amazing young minds that we have in the UK to find solutions to our retail and societies problems Lets not only listen to the older generation, but combine all ideas from all ages, backgrounds, and work together.


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