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In general, town and city centres have been in decline for decades. The reasons for this decline are complex, numerous and sometimes unique to specific centres. However, one common theme has been a lack of leadership and co-ordinated management. With no natural management structure and a diverse set of stakeholders including occupiers, property owners, local authorities, police, charities and visitors, town centres struggled to respond to the competitive pressures of new retail destinations that emerged in the 1980s.

Retailers, recognising that the high street remains the home of their sector, took the initiative in an attempt to reverse this decline, leading informal partnerships that focused on the cleaner, greener, safer agenda. These partnerships quickly grew and evolved across the UK. In 1991, ATCM was formed as their membership body to offer representation at various levels of government, but also provide a forum of support, best practice and networking to support healthy high streets.



ATCM is a not-for-profit membership organisation, one of the largest dedicated to promoting the vitality and viability of urban centres across the UK and the Republic of Ireland. This includes nearly 500 practitioners and partnerships. Our members develop and implement shared visions, strategies and action plans for hundreds of district, town and city centres.

Our membership is diverse, consisting of a mix of publicly funded town centre managers, BIDs, Community Interest Companies, Town Teams, town centre businesses, universities and more. They span across the private, public and voluntary sectors and, as a collective, do not have a sector specific agenda. Instead they are focused on the promotion of healthy places for the benefit of all stakeholders.

It is the lack of a sector specific agenda that has provided ATCM with so much credibility with policy-makers. Despite being a small organisation in size, its remit and achievements have been significant. Introducing BIDs to the UK is probably our greatest achievement of all.

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ATCM is the membership body that supports and represents the town and city management industry across the UK and Ireland.

This is a unique and privileged position. There is no equivalent network that has the scale, or diversity of partnership structure. In terms of networking, best practice, innovation, thought leadership and political influence, this gives us an edge. There is no equal.


To be a thriving network for all interested in supporting town and city centres in the UK and Ireland, driven by practitioners engaged in the proactive management of town and city centres.

We think that achieving this can be encapsulated with four clear and simple objectives. They are:

  1. Facilitate knowledge exchange amongst both town and city management practitioners and the wider stakeholders;

  2. Provide representation of the town and city management profession and town and city centres to influencers and investors at local, regional, national and international levels;

  3. Provide a foundation for increasing standards in the public-private partnerships responsible for managing town and city centres; and

  4. Deliver added value for town and city management practitioners by fostering strong relationships with key third parties.


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Ojay works with Government Ministers, parliamentarians, economic development professionals, business leaders and place-makers across the UK and Ireland to support town and city centres. He works on a range of policy issues including tax reform, local government finance, the EU and UN Urban Agenda, devolution, the Northern Powerhouse, transport, housing, planning, retail and urban regeneration. Ojay can be contacted on 07976636038 or at


ATCM and Purple Flag Membership Manager

Karen leads on ATCM's engagement strategy, collaborating with urban practitioners across the UK and Ireland. 

As a previous town centre manager she really understands the challenges of making great places. Karen supports our practitioner and company members as well as assisting our Network Chairs.

Karen can be contacted on 07826 323399 or

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Advocacy and Accreditation Assistant

Laura Blake leads on the delivery of Purple Flag, working with accredited destinations, the Purple Flag Panel, and Assessors.

She joined ATCM in 2020 as Public Affairs Assistant. In this role, she supported the effort to provide real-time communications to place managers on COVID-19 and Brexit Transition. She continues to support ATCM's public policy work.


Finance Manager

Karen Longley M.A.A.T. is ATCM’s Finance and Accounts Manager. 

In the year 2000 Karen went Freelance using her experience as a part qualified accountant and experienced book-keeper to assist small and medium sized businesses to operate.  Services offered include day-to-day book-keeping, VAT and Payroll calculations and submissions, month and year end accounts preparation, Company House returns and Self Assessment Tax Returns.



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CEO of Canterbury Business Improvement District

Chair of the ATCM Board of Directors

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