European White Paper on Town Centre Regeneration Launched in Brussels

11 Apr 2019

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ATCM Joins Continental Consortium to Promote the Role of the Independent Retail Sector


On the 10thApril at the European Economic and Social Committee, in Brussels, a European White Paper outlining the need for urgent action to support high streets across the continent was launched. The publication ‘Revitalisation of European Town Centres through Independent Retail’ is aimed at influencing policy-makers and practitioners across the continent providing a foundation for future collaboration for all countries where significant turbulence on the high street is being observed.
The effort has been spearheaded by La Fédération Nationale de l’Habillement (French Federation of Independent Fashion Retailers) attracting high profile interest within the EU, including contributions from Elzbieta Bienkowska, the EU Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and Jan Olbrycht MEP, President of the URBAN Group.


On the day when EU leaders met for an emergency summit to discuss Brexit, Ojay McDonald, Chief Executive of ATCM, presented on the processes of globalisation, de-industrialisation and automation and how these destabilising factors have led to huge economic challenges in the UK’s post-industrial towns and cities. Ojay indicated how these have contributed to the deep divisions over the UK’s role in EU and how this uncertainty is no less important for ATCM members in Ireland. 

Ojay McDonald, ATCM's CEO, presents on social division in the UK alongside Bernard Morvan, Honorary President of the La Fédération Nationale de l’Habillement and Moderator Olaf Bruns, Former Euronews Brussels Bureau Deputy Chief


Canterbury Connected BID CEO and Chair of the ATCM South East network, Lisa Carlson, who has contributed to the development of the White Paper, provided an overview of the challenges faced in high streets across the UK including the recent news around Debenhams. She went on to outline the green shoots of recovery led by a mix of local partnerships and innovative small businesses.
Ojay and Lisa were also joined by Ashford Councillor, Graham Galpin, who has earned a reputation for a pro-active approach to town centre regeneration which has seen the town claim a number of positive headlines. There were further contributions from across Europe including Sweden, Denmark, Italy, France, Holland and Belgium.

Lisa Carlson, Canterbury Connected BID CEO and Chair of ATCM South East, Ojay McDonald, ATCM CEO, and Graham Galpin, Ashford Council Cabinet Member for Corporate Property and a member of the UK Government's Expert Panel on High Streets


Discussions with European partners will continue. ATCM hopes to sustain the collaboration across Europe given the many common challenges faced by towns and cities as well as strong engagement with the International Downtown Association.
To download Revitalisation of European Town Centres through Independent Retail, click here.
Interested in international collaboration? Then why not attend the International Downtown Association’s World Towns Leadership Summit in Tokyo, Japan, starting on the 13thMay? More details of this great looking event by can be found here.