House of Lords inquiry to help regenerate failing High Streets

The House of Lords has launched a new inquiry to help identify ways to regenerate High Streets across the UK's small towns and cities.

The Built Environmental Committee said that High Streets were once the “heart of local communities” up and down the country but had faced challenges in recent times, including the rise of online shopping, the Covid-19 pandemic, and inflationary pressures changing consumer behaviour.

The inquiry will seek answers to questions including how respondents define a High Street in a town or small city and its purpose, what should be included on High Streets to meet community needs, and what the obstacles to bringing underused property on the High Streets back into use may be.

“High streets, which many people consider as a hub for their communities, face numerous challenges,” said Lord Moylan, chair of the House of Lords Built Environment Committee. “Our inquiry will explore how High Streets can be regenerated and become more resilient and attractive.”

Moylan added that the inquiry would also assess whether the government’s vision and support for High Streets is fit for purpose and seek to understand if local authorities have the right tools to help local areas thrive.

The launch of the inquiry follows ONS data which indicated UK retail sales rebounded by 3.4 per cent in January following a record decline of 3.3 per cent in the previous month.

However, Samantha Philips, partner at McKinsey & Company said that the uptick should be “accepted cautiously”, as the UK is expected to experience a year of further ups and downs.

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