7 February 2019
10:00am - 16:00pm


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Death of the High Street?

Fashion store - black and white 



The Context...


The high street is dead! 


Long live the high street!


According to the Centre for Retail Research, 2018 is on course to be the worst year for high street retail store closures since 2008, the year the financial crisis began to bite in town centres. Cherished brands such as House of Fraser and M&S are closing stores and restructuring their business models.


This follows decades of challenges for high streets culminating in a volatile and unforgiving market place leading some commentators to say the end of the high street is fast approaching. However, this is just one narrative.


Competing Narratives

At the same time we hear of new opportunities emerging on the high street, new independents starting business, innovative new uses for empty space and fresh thinking being applied to town centres. So, what is the truth?


The 2019 Place Management Conference ‘Death of the High Street?’ will assess the challenges for our retail sector, focusing on some of the key structural weaknesses that inhibit town centres. This event will also challenge some of the assumptions made around town centres, asking whether this is really the beginning of the end, or the next phase of high street evolution. Finally, we will explore examples of towns that have overcome some of the structural barriers to support the transformation of the high street, in contrast with the negative news cycle.


This will be the latest in a long line of high quality ATCM events with a wide range of delegates from councils, BIDs, property and the retail sector.


Draft Agenda


9.30am Registration and Networking

10am: High Streets in Crisis?

Ojay McDonald, CEO, ATCM

10.15am High Streets vs the Industrial Revolution

Jim McMahon MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Town Centres and Shadow Minister for Local Government and Devolution

10.35am From Out of Town to Virtual – Where has the Footfall Gone?

Diane Wehrle, Marketing and Insights Director, Springboard

11.00am: From Millennials to Gen Z – Why has the Footfall Gone?

Nick Richardson, CEO, The Insights People

11.20am Refreshments

11.35am A Retailer’s Perspective

Speaker TBC

11.55pm Panel Debate: Future High Streets – From Concept to Delivery

Chaired by Ojay McDonald, CEO, ATCM

Steve Norris, Head of Regeneration and Destination, Lambert Smith Hampton

Victoria Hills MRTPI FICE, CEO, The Royal Town Planning Institute

Phil Prentice, Chief Officer, Scotland’s Towns Partnership

Alison Harvey, Planning Officer and Programmes Manager, The Heritage Council


12.45pm Lunch

1.45pm Panel Debate: Death of the High Street – True or False?

Chaired by Stefan Gurney, Executive Director, Norwich BID and Chair, ATCM Advisory Council

Professor Cathy Parker, Chair, Institute of Place Management

Mark Robinson, Property Director & Co Founder, Ellandi and President, Revo

Andrew Carter, Chief Executive, Centre for Cities

David Fitzsimons, Group Chief Executive Officer, Retail Excellence



2.45pm: Public-Private Partnership: The Altrincham Case Study

Elizabeth Faulkner, BID Manager, Altrincham Unlimited

Stephen James, Head of Strategic Growth, Trafford Council

3.05pm Public-Private Partnership: The Worcester Case Study

Helen Mole, Economic Development Officer, Worcester City Council

Phoebe Dawson, BID Manager, Worcester BID

3.25pm Case Study Q&A

3.35pm The Power of Community

Sophia de Sousa, Chief Executive, The Glass-House


3.50pm From Deconstruction to Reconstruction: What's Next for ATCM’s High Street Agenda?

Ojay McDonald, CEO, ATCM

4pm Close


About The Crystal

The Crystal


The 2019 ATCM Place Management Conference will take place in The Crystal, a sustainable cities initiative by Siemens. The Crystal in London is home to the world’s largest exhibition on the future of cities, as well as one of the world’s most sustainable buildings and events venues.