Uttlesford councillor receives invite to take part in ‘Future of town centres’ conference in London

Cllr Howard Rolfe

Cllr Howard Rolfe - Credit: Archant

An Uttlesford district councillor will next week share a platform with “High Streets” Government Minister Brandon Lewis MP and other key opinion leaders to debate the future of town centres.

Cllr Howard Rolfe, cabinet member for Communities & Partnerships will join the debate which will focus on the strategic thinking that will be needed to help high streets and town centres thrive and prosper.

The conference, at Sadlers Wells, London, on Monday (December 2), will play host to veteran retailer Bill Grimsey, author of the controversial Grimsey Report, Matthew Hopkinson of the Local Data Company, Dr Julie Grail of British BIDs and a selection of other political representatives.

Cllr Rolfe said: “Town centres are constantly in the news and we, like so many other councils, are concerned about their future. We recognise that as a district council we play an important role in protecting and improving our town centres for the benefit of local residents and businesses.

“I am looking forward to sharing some of the measures we have recently implemented which are helping our town centres to increase trade and footfall: selective free car parking up to Christmas and beyond, establishing dedicated and motivated town teams for each of our towns and promoting and endorsing ‘shop local’ schemes where possible.

“I am pleased to have been invited and to have the opportunity to share best practice and to hear the latest cutting edge thinking on managing town centres.”

Together with case studies from successful town centres, delegates will have an opportunity to hear how restoring community uses and how businesses of all types can be encouraged to take the lead in managing the future.

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The conference is being hosted by the London Stansted Cambridge Consortium, a partnership of public and private organisations covering the area north of Tech City, the City Fringe, Kings Cross, and the Olympic Park, up through the Lee Valley and M11/A10, and West Anglia Rail corridors to Harlow and Stansted, and through to Cambridge.

The partnership was formed to organise and promote what is in the economic area, with strong inter-connections; commuting to work and learn patterns, clusters of industries and supply chains.