Mission to help Alsager

Alsager-high-street05Academics are on a mission to help the UK’s high streets – by teaming up with 10 towns, including Alsager, to bring cutting-edge research directly to them.

Researchers from Manchester Metropolitan University are leading a pioneering £250,000 project to breathe new life into the high street over the next six years, called High Street UK 2020.

Traditional British high streets have been facing ‘unprecedented threats’ in recent years as competition from the internet intensified as well as shoppers’ pockets being hit by the economic downturn.

The business experts will exchange evidence and retail research through a series of local workshops, regional-themed seminars and an online support centre. These resources will be available free to the high street partners, giving unrivalled access to research normally unattainable by local partnerships.

One of the biggest tools will allow the partners to model different futures for the high street and create appropriate plans for each scenario that could play out over the next few years.

Professor Cathy Parker, Chair of Marketing and Retail Enterprise, leading the project said: “The changing nature of retail in Britain brings many benefits to consumers but is having significant consequences for communities and retailers themselves. Having suffered the impact of out-of-town shopping for some 30 years, evidence shows that the threat to high streets in Britain is now at an unprecedented level, and it is far from clear how to respond effectively. We will enable individual locations to forecast the likely future for their high street in 2020 if no intervention takes place. We want to identify a variety of appropriate and sustainable interventions available to make an alternative, sustainable future for their high street in 2020.”

The year long project started in January and online resources will be available to at the end of the project, with regional seminars held to share research throughout.

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