Release date: 29 November 2019
Let’s Talk About Our Towns brought together national experts and more than 60 business and community leaders in Worthing to share and spark ideas on the future of our high streets on Wednesday (27 November).
Key-note speaker was Ojay McDonald, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Association of Town and City Management, who offered his insight into the current state of town centres, and ‘what can work’ to overcome the challenges many are facing.
Carolyn Carr, the county council’s Economic Growth Manager, said: “After an inaugural event last year, we were keen to bring key influencers and decision makers together to continue the conversations and collaborative working on this agenda.
“West Sussex is home to a wonderful and diverse range of towns – large and small, a cathedral town, market towns and coastal towns. High streets are under increasing pressure, due to changes in shopping habits and the altered ways in which residents and visitors use towns.
“As habits change, we need to acknowledge the challenges and embrace the opportunities that this brings. We need to find ways for our town centres to be resilient places for our residents and visitors.”
Bob Lanzer, county council Cabinet Member for the Economy, hosted the reception and highlighted some of the practical ways the council has been working in partnership to support town centres.
Cllr Daniel Humphreys, Leader of Worthing Borough Council, talked about local activities and what was being planned for Worthing town centre.
Wayne Hemingway, CEO of Hemingway Design, provided expertise on involving communities in the future of town centres; and Matt Baker, town centre specialist and co-author of The Grimsey Review 2, shared insight on initiatives making a difference to town centres across the country.
Compere for the evening was JPI Media Editorial Director Gary Shipton.
Pictured: Keynote speaker Ojay McDonald