ATCM Chief Executive's Blog - A Week in TCM
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A Week in TCM
Friday 29 June 2012
A fascinating week that began on Monday by meeting all the 12 Portas Pilot Round 1 winners together at the Dept. For Communities and Local Gov. Mary Portas and Peter Cross were, I have to say, inspirational. Not a word I use often and won over a number of sceptics in the audience. The de facto “Minister for Town Centres” Grant Shapps also made clear the government’s ongoing support and what a priority they see town centres as. We heard from all 12 pilots, just a few minutes on what they planned to do. As it happens, 10 off the 12 winners were already ATCM members (a co-incidence?) so we have a great chance of learning from their experience.
Tuesday at the dentist.
Wednesday saw the launch of the High Street 100. ATCM has created a network of the 100 authorities in England that received the High Street Innovation Fund, £100k. Incidentally, same amount as the Portas Pilots, with no pesky application forms! What a brilliant first session. Jeremy Kite, leader of the Council I Dartford (a Portas Plot winner) explained why they had gone for it. See www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Otc_uUgEZs. He is a “man with a plan” but very honesty said, “but we haven’t delivered it yet! Talking about the very loose rules around how they spend the HSIF money (there aren’t any!) he said that local councils were being asked to “grow up” and decide for themselves. Two speakers from CBRE, our hosts from the day, took a look at the trends in retail development and the issues around planning. In my view the latter is such an important subject I am asking Richard Lemon to reprise as a webinar. See previous blog “The Perfect Storm”.
Later that evening I was guest panellist at the lunch of Clubbing Together: The Hidden Wealth of Communities. This important report suggests that Community groups and town centres should become central to the administration of policy at a local level. See http://www.localgov.co.uk/index.cfm?method=news.detail&id=106045. As it happens, a great link to the Dartford Portas Pilot plan, who are majoring on bring such clubs and activities into the town centre. Two of the many things that the report looked at were Crowd Funding and Timebanking. Two topics I am covering next week at the Summer School (sold out, sorry!) session of raising sponsorship and funding; more of that another time.
Thursday saw me at the LGA Conference in Birmingham, speaking to Councillors about Revitalising town centres. An event looking at the challenges facing town centres and the financial opportunities available to councils to help meet those challenges. It was standing room only, once again indicating the importance attached by elected members. I have been asking groups to put their hand up if their location was planning to apply for Portas Pilot status. This time I asked for a show of hands of those not planning to apply. No hands went up. The key topics at the Q & A that followed were car parking and business rates. We are just putting the finishing touches to a programme for a joint Parking Summit with the BPA in September.
Today, Friday, meeting our Chairman Alexander Nichol to talk through the next weeks Summer School, then getting the whole team together to review our Business and Action Plans and start getting ready for a review in the autumn.
I’ve just previewed that Experian Special Report for ATCM to be presented on Tuesday. Awesome!