News and Case Studies

News

24th November 2020: People And Places Insight Announces New Website Launch

People and Places Insight, a leading provider of quality research and solutions, announced today the launch of its newly designed website at www.people-places.co.uk. The completely revamped website features a streamlined and simplified design, improved functionality and enriched content areas to help make well-informed decisions about their Town centres and localities needs and goals.

“We are thrilled to launch our new company website to our customers, clients and visitors who are looking to understand the breadth of People and Places Insight’s solutions and services,” said Managing Director Mike King. “This website redesign demonstrates our commitment to creating the best experience for our customers as possible.”

People and Places Insight’s new website will be regularly updated with news and events as well as industry developments.

24 May 2020 Funding for reopening High Streets A new £50 million fund for councils to support their local high streets get safely back to business announced today by High Streets Minister Simon Clarke . To prepare for the reopening of non-essential retail when the scientific advice allows, the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund will help councils in England introduce a range of safety measures in a move to kick-start local economies, get people back to work and customers back to the shops

It will also support a range of practical safety measures including new signs, street markings and temporary barriers. This will help get businesses get ready for when they can begin trading safely, not only in high streets and town and city centres, but also in other public spaces like beachfronts and promenades.

Councils will also be able to use this money to develop local marketing campaigns to explain the changes to the public and reassure them that their high streets and other commercial areas are safe.

6th November 2020: Helping High Streets Through Lockdown

The High Streets Task Force has published guidelines to further assist High Streets through lockdown.

‘The COVID-19 Recovery Framework (below) was developed to help high streets through the initial COVID crisis’ to ‘The COVID-19 Recovery Framework (right) was developed to help high streets through the initial COVID crisis’

The Framework aims to help place leaders take the most effective action during the immediate crisis, and to build the capacity for recovery and longer-term transformation. It was widely adopted in the first lockdown by local authorities, Business Improvement Districts and other place partnerships.

27th October 2020: First Town Deals announced to boost regeneration with almost £180 million

Barrow-in-Furness, Blackpool, Darlington, Peterborough, Norwich, Torquay and Warrington are the first of 101 places to be offered a Town Deal and work will now begin with these areas to confirm final funding.

These areas will have the opportunity to invest in their local economies, implementing proposals submitted to the Government’s £3.6 billion Towns Fund, which is designed create jobs and drive growth across the country.

Projects earmarked for these landmark first Town Deals include:

£39.5 million to be used to update the Blackpool Illuminations, for a return to tourism after the COVID-19 pandemic, which used to attract 4 million visitors and bring in £284m a year, and to support the development of the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone;

£21.9 milling to modernise Torquay town centre, transforming it into a retail and leisure destination for people visiting, working and living in the town as well as improving transport links with a new focus on walking and cycling routes; and

£22.9m investment for Peterborough to lay the groundwork for low carbon living, supporting healthy lifestyles and encourage enterprise and innovation. Planned projects include a skills centre for green technologies, enterprise hub and a new pedestrian bridge.

Further funding

The offers announced today respond to locally led proposals put forward by Town Deal Boards with representation from business, the local community, public sectors and local MPs.

All 101 towns selected to work towards a Town Deal were given a funding allocation with proposals being submitted to the MHCLG. The first cohort of towns submitted proposals in July, before being reviewed by officials and a final decision made by ministers. Further Town Deals are due to be announced in November.

24 September 2020: Understanding Town Trends

Gathering evidence and objectives is the foundation stage in the ‘F-Factors Town Centre Checklist’ created by People and Places Insight as part of the national guidance for the Local Government Association (LGA). You can read more about this approach to understanding the ‘ingredients’ for hundreds of towns by reading the Top Tips published as part of the UK Government’s Great British High Street campaign.

Read a case study of how we have used this approach in developing an evidence base for Southwold Town Centre; how the technique was been adopted by the Welsh Government to monitor its Vibrant and Viable Places programme across 14 communities; or how the understanding gained has underpins town team development, action planning and delivery in towns like Ballinasloe, County Galway.

We have now extended our approach to help understand the wider economic and social trends of town centres including in neighbouring communities like Colwyn Bay, Abergele and Llanrwst in North Wales with contrasting visitor economies.

To receive a free copy of a summary ‘Heart of Our Town’ study of town trends, simply provide contact details below and we’ll send you one.

23 September 2020: Revitalising Town Centres

We are proud to have prepared resources for the Local Government Association on revitalising town centres, especially important as we continue to deal with Covid-19..

This handbook and the accompanying online toolkit offer guidance to council leaders on how to approach the revitalisation of town and city centres. The guidance places an emphasis on delivering long-term impacts and using broad principles that can be tailored to meet local needs.

The handbook was informed by a LGA-led seminar of senior practitioners and it has been compiled jointly with People & Places. It is intended to provide a high-level overview to guide councils in taking a strategic and evidence-based approach. The handbook contains suggestions of further reading, helpful resources and examples of good practice that can be accessed through a more extensive and detailed online toolkit.

Download a copy of the handbook revitalising town centres: a handbook for council leadership

Visit the LGA’s accompanying revitalising town centres on-line toolkit

21 February 2020: High Streets 2030 Report Published

Dated policies and an unfair tax regime must be reformed to create an environment that will allow high streets and town centres to flourish in the future. That is the message from the long awaited ‘High Streets and Town Centres in 2030’ report published by the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee.

The Committee’s report sets out what it believes is a bold vision for the high street based on locally-led strategies, developed with local communities and businesses at the centre. In brief, the Committee’s findings are that:

High streets and town centres must adapt, transform and find a new focus in order to survive Business rates are stacking the odds against high street retailers. The Government must initiate reforms to provide meaningful relief to high street retailers, including giving consideration to proposals for an online sales tax to level the playing field

Achieving large-scale structural change will require intervention led by the local authority, in collaboration with business and local communities, backed by funding and new powers from central government

Local Plans are a key element of this. They must consider green space, leisure, arts and culture, health and social care services to create space that is the “intersection of human life and activity”

Retailers must accept the need to adapt and do more to offer what online cannot, focusing more on personal interactions and convenience

Landlords need to recognise the retail property market has changed and be more receptive to negotiating lease terms with retailers in financial difficulty – The Government should consider providing a conciliation service to facilitate negotiations between the parties.

Launching the report, Committee Chair Clive Betts MP commented: “In recent years, high streets and town centres have faced extremely challenging times. We have seen the collapse of a number of well-known, national high street chains, with many more undergoing restructuring or being bought out. The growth of online shopping has profoundly changed retail in the UK, and the knock-on impact on high streets has been stark.

We must begin a period of renewal and regeneration, establishing high streets as focal points of our communities comprising green space and health, education and leisure services, as well as a core of retail. At a local and national level, government must create a framework that allows high streets and town centres to thrive. Local authorities must have the foresight to develop evolving strategies tailored to the needs of their local communities and drive the large-scale transformation needed. Central government must give them the powers, and back them financially, to allow them to put this into practice.”

For more information please download a copy of the High streets and town centres in 2030 report.

CASE STUDIES

Central Bedfordshire Council

Central Bedfordshire Council, one of the largest unitary Local Authorities in the country, covers both towns and rural villages with a total population of 283,600. The Council have an ambition to make all of Central Bedfordshire a great place to work, live and visit.

As part of the regeneration programme, the Place Delivery team, sitting within the Place and Communities Directorate of Central Bedfordshire Council, were assigned the task of improving the performance of the town centres within their Authority.

With over 12 years’ experience of working, advising and offering guidance to National Government, Local Authorities, BIDs, Neighbourhood Plan teams, Community and Town Partnerships and Retailers, the Place Delivery team were confident that People and Places Insight were the right choice to provide them with trackable, accurate and impartial data on how their particular town centres were performing.

For more information and to read the case study in full please email: info@people-places.co.uk

Stony Stratford Business Association

Stony Stratford, part of one of the fastest growing new cities in Britain, is often described as the jewel of Milton Keynes. Retaining its character as a lively market town, it has its own style and charm, with over 350 small independent businesses and mix of traditional and individual shops, pubs and restaurants.

Stony Stratford Business Association (SSBA), is a voluntary body operated by a committee of representatives from all areas of business from within the town. By representing and working with the local business community, SSBA have a mission to make Stony Stratford a great place to live and visit.

As part of SSBA’s role, the committee provide an evidence base as to how Stony Stratford is performing compared with similar towns and as a result target their marketing and promotional effort. The SSBA committee were confident that People and Places Insight were the right choice to provide them with trackable, accurate and impartial data on how Stony Stratford was performing.

For more information and to read the case study in full please email: info@people-places.co.uk

Ourburystedmunds

Bury St Edmunds BID initially used Benchmarking to create a deliverable project plan for which the organisation could use for the first 12 months of inception. Subsequently the Key Performance Indicators have been measured each year to ascertain the impact of a wide range of projects and initiatives.

Most noticeably the Town Centre User Surveys identified that many visitors were unhappy over an increase in car parking fees throughout the locality. As a result, the BID was able to present the information to their Local Authority and oversaw the introduction of a ‘Free Parking After 3pm’ policy.

Data from the Business Confidence, Footfall and Town Centre Users Surveys was also used to improve signage for first time visitors throughout the town centre.

For a detailed case study please contact People and Places on info@people-places.co.uk.

Love Newmarket

The Business Improvement District used the data to measure the Town Centre in normal trading conditions and then replicate footfall, customer spend, length of stay and origin at the Christmas Events to understand impact.

For a detailed case study please contact People and Places on info@people-places.co.uk.

Bradford on Avon Town Council

The Town Council used the data from a general Benchmarking Study to commission People and Places to conduct an Advanced Car Parking Study. Anecdotal information and the Benchmarking highlighted an issue with a severe shortage of parking provision in the Town Centre at pinch points during the day.

The initial data was supported by the evidence gathered in the in-depth study providing the Town Council with a detached report to address the issue.

For a detailed case study please contact People and Places on info@people-places.co.uk.

Southam First

Stratford on Avon District Council (SDC) used Section 106 money to commission a Benchmarking review of Southam town centre. Key points from the analysis included improving the business economy, marketing the locality, the creation of a calendar of events and festivals and the development of a Farmers Market.

SDC used the data as a detached, evidence-based tool to create a Town Centre Partnership consisting of a private and public mix to address the issues raised from the Benchmarking Report. A public event both highlighted the findings of the report and asked for nominations for Board and Working Group members.

Within 2 months ‘Southam First’ was a fully functioning organisation delivering actions on a project plan which was based on the Benchmarking Review. The evidence led approach allowed for Southam First to apply successfully for funding from a wide range of bodies to ensure sustainability.

For a detailed case study please contact People and Places on info@people-places.co.uk.