By Daniel Hunter

Local Growth Minister Mark Prisk has issued a warning to high streets across the country that they need to adapt to meet the changing needs of today’s consumers if they are to prosper.

Speaking to the 27 Portas Pilots in Loughborough, the minister said the high street cannot live in the past, but must adapt to meet the radical changes in consumer behaviour seen over the past few years.

Mr Prisk has established a new national Future High Streets Forum, bringing together leaders across retail, property and business to better understand the competition town centres across the country face and to drive forward new ideas and policies, building on the work of the Portas review of the future of the high street.

In particular, it will advise the country’s 27 Portas Pilots and 330 ‘Town Team Partners’ on how to adapt to a new era of online shopping and the changing way in which consumers shop.

The Future High Streets Forum will advise the government on the challenges facing high streets and help develop practical policies to enable town centres to adapt and change. It will look at issues including:

- promoting parking solutions and good practice to help high streets attract more visitors
- making it easier for redundant empty spaces to be used as pop-up shops to bring new business onto the high street
- allowing commercial landlords to turn part of their building into a residential property to bring more people into town centres
- reinforcing the ‘town centre first’ planning rules
- rolling out pop-up shops across the 330 Town Team Partner high streets

“It is clear that our high streets will need to change to prosper. There is already great work being done across the country to revitalise the town centres, but it needs to spread further faster. The Future High Streets Forum will help us do that," Mark Prisk said.

“The forum will bring business, councils, retailers and property experts to work together and back communities to rejuvenate our high streets.”

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