Public asked to shape future of city centres in the Central South

Posted on 17th March 2020
Local people are being given a unique opportunity to say how five of the south’s most important city centres should look in the years to come.

The Southern Policy Centre is asking local people to complete a survey saying what they like about their city and town centres, what they dislike and what they think should change. Our High Streets and city centres face unprecedented challenges: the next few months will be particularly difficult for the retail and leisure sectors and for local communities. In such unprecedented times it’s important that we discuss what we value in our city centres and urban culture.

The survey is part of a project supported by local solicitors Blake Morgan which is exploring how five major retail and commercial centres in the central South of England – Bournemouth, Poole, Portsmouth, Southampton and Winchester – are evolving to meet the demands of the future.

High streets in the central South of England are changing dramatically, with reduced footfall, closing shops and lost jobs. But city and town centres aren’t just places to shop. People visit them for work and leisure and nearly half of city centre premises are houses or flats, and one in ten are offices. This study aims to understand how we should plan and design tomorrow’s city centre as a place to shop, live, play and work.

People are invited to give their views by completing a short survey – you can find out more details here.

Simon Eden, Director of SPC and project lead, said: “City centres have been vital hubs for their communities for hundreds of years: places to shop, work, live and play. As the face of retail changes we need to map out a new role for our city and town centres. SPC hope this research, which is being conducted in partnership with local councils, will help shape the city centres and high streets of the future, making sure that towns and cities in the Central South can continue to thrive for the next 20 years.”

Daniel Curtis, Partner at Blake Morgan, said: “Our high streets are undergoing massive transformation and it is essential that we take the time to consider what we want them to look like in the future and that they are healthy spaces where people are able to go about their business and leisure activities.”

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