Council Working to Keep Town Centre Vibrant
Wycombe District Cllr Mohammed Hanif said High Street stores across the country have to contend with “unfair” planning regulations, competition from online businesses and a “post-Brexit slowdown” and asked economic development and regeneration chief, Cllr Steve Broadbent, what measures the council is taking to stop the closure of any more shops.
Cllr Broadbent disagreed that Brexit is affecting the town centre, adding that consumer spending is at its highest “since records began”.
He said the district council is trying to keep the High Street “vibrant” and has already stepped in where the market has “softened”.
At a full council meeting on Monday, he said: “Retail is shifting towards giving customers experiences, our High Street needs to be a place that’s vibrant and a place to relax.
“We do need to upgrade some of the public realm and this will be a priority and help property owners repurpose ground floors to retain their attractiveness. We need to add animation and set out activities to allow leisure to come into the High Street, the council has already intervened where the market has softened with the likes of the Mad Squirrel, Lunch and The Works.”
He added that postponed plans to enlarge the undercrofts at The Guildhall and the Little Market House will also be reviewed, saying:
“There is a challenge ahead but I'm confident the town is resilient enough to meet it. Our town centre needs to be animated and we have plans in place to make sure it remains a vibrant place to be. We are working on it and we’re delivering.”