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Reflecting on Summer School 2022
'High Streets vs The Industrial Revolution'

As summer holidays draw to a close, we reflect on the biggest event hosted by ATCM in three years. 

Summer School 2022, ‘High Streets vs The Industrial Revolution', hosted in Cardiff City Centre, brought together nearly 190 delegates from across Europe for a discussion on the impact of technological change on local economies. Members were delighted to be back together again as we discussed one of the big post-pandemic issues... 'what is the lasting legacy of our reliance on technology during lockdown?'.

Here’s a review of what delegates were treated to.

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High Streets vs The Industrial Revolution

ATCM CEO, Ojay McDonald, opened the conference by highlighting that we have seen a shift in how local economies work through technological innovations that have been embraced during the pandemic. Ojay touched upon a BBC story 'The women swapping shops for smartphones' about three African entrepreneurs who used lockdown to immerse themselves in digital technology in a way that resonates here. 

High Street Evolution: A Business Perspective

Tom Gooding of John Lewis Cardiff and Gemma Aitken of LUSH Cardiff discussed how the two high street retailers had evolved as a direct consequence of the pandemic, both operationally in the context of customer experience, and in terms of values.


How COVID Changed the High Street: Panel Debate

Amy Taylor of Team Manager for Regeneration Opportunities at Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council and Chair of ATCM Wales, led a fascinating panel discussion on high street evolution with three ATCM members from very different fields:

  • Sabri Marsaoui, Asset Director, Crosstree Real Estate Partners LLP

  • Sally Henley, Newton Abbot Town Council, Town Development Manager

  • Meryl Halls, Managing Director, Booksellers Association

A Logistical Nightmare? Panel Debate on Urban Logistics, Hospitality and the High Street

The CEO of Canterbury BID and Chair of the ATCM Board of Directors, Lisa Carlson, oversaw a feisty debate on the role of delivery firms on the  hospitality sector in the high street.

Panelists included:

  • Anthie Zachariou, Senior Regional Public Affairs Manager, Deliveroo

  • Garry Mortimer Cook, Economic Development, Horsham Council

  • Paul Shaw, CEO & Founder, The Restaurant Collective

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The afternoon of Day 1 featured six interactive workshops delivered by a range of ATCM members on fascinating topics. These included:

Confronting the L-Commerce Revolution
Led by Bubltown

Increasing Footfall with Digital Trails: Learnings from Lego
Led by LoyalFree in partnership with Harrogate BID

Liverpool Without Walls
Led by Meristem, in partnership with Liverpool City Council

How Post-Pandemic Life is Impacting High Streets: The Impact of Hybrid Working and Current Economic Challenges on the Performance of High Streets and their Road to Recovery
Led by Springboard

How to Generate Footfall and Spend: Supporting Businesses to Adapt
Led by ShopAppy in partnership with Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council

Purple Flag: The Cardiff Experience 
Led by FOR Cardiff


In the evening, delegates came together for the awards dinner celebrating best practice. For more information on those receiving accolades, click here.


Green Urban Revolution

Julie James MS, Minister for Climate Change, provided an overview of the dangers posed from global warming, especially to Welsh towns and cities and what that means for the coordination of sustainability and urban policy.


Separating Fact from Fiction: Economic Decentralisation and WFH

Andy Nuttall (Movement Strategies) and Tulsi Parida (Visa) examined the impact of working from home in the UK using detailed datasets on spend.

City’s End?: Panel Debate on the Long-Term Implications of WFH

Melanie Palmer, CEO of Solihull BID, chaired a fascinating panel debate on the on-going challenges for cities post-pandemic in terms of an increasingly mobile labour force who no longer need to work from the office. The panel included:

  • Huw Llewellyn, Head of Property and Facilities Management, Admiral (and Chair of FOR Cardiff)

  • Roddy Smith, CEO, Essential Edinburgh

  • Christine Reeves, Director, Reeves Retail Planning Consultancy Ltd

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