Keeping Bristol’s High Streets Alive!

6.30pm Monday 19 November Colston Hall 2 Free In her report published last December, retail expert Mary Portas set out her vision for Britain’s high streets, and warned that “after many years of erosion, neglect and mismanagement” they will “disappear forever” unless urgent action is taken. This major public event, free and open to all, is intended to inform Bristolians about what is being done in this city in response to these findings, to stimulate ideas and act as a catalyst Read more [...]

Toolkit for establishing an independent retail business in Bristol now available online

Bristol City Council has worked with local businesses, business advisors and traders groups to produce a toolkit on establishing an independent retail business (pdf, 153 KB).

The toolkit will be a live document and updated on a continuous basis, any comments or amendments should be emailed to

Government announce 15 more towns to be given funds for regeneration

Local Government Minister, Grant Shapps MP has today announced that another 15 town centres are to be given extra cash for regeneration projects. This now takes the number of "Portas Pilots" to 27 following on from the 12 towns that were given cash to rejuvenate their shopping areas earlier this year More than 400 towns made applications for funding and business support following a report by Ms Portas into the state of the High Street (available here). The new 15 Portas Pilots are: Read more [...]

Government Pop-up Shops Planning Rules Consultation and new High Street Guide

From Jason Thorne of Bristol City Council: The Government has today launched consultation into proposals for a change in planning rules for temporary or pop up shops, see A publication 'Re-imagining urban spaces to help revitalise our high streets' has also been published, see Bristol gets a mention on pages 7 and 9. From the press release: New proposals to re-activate empty shops Read more [...]

Sustainable Development and Transport Scrutiny Commission High Street Inquiry Report and Recommendations

From the Bristol City Council website: Introduction The Commission identified local high streets as a priority issue this year. We wanted to examine issues relating to local retailing, planning policy and access to food and how these are affecting high streets in the city. The Council is already leading on the development of the Food Policy Council and there is a great deal of public interest in local versus multiple chain stores in certain areas and the planning issues that have arisen from Read more [...]

Bid to become a Portas Pilot!

From the Mary Portas website: Mary Portas and the Local Government Minister, Grant Shapps, have launched a competition to choose 12 towns to become “Portas Pilots”, with the winners benefiting from a share of £1million to help turn around their “unloved and unused” high streets. The cash incentive is offered to those towns that come up with the best High Street blueprints in a move that fulfils the first and last recommendations of Mary Portas’ High Streets Review, commissioned by Read more [...]

Bristol West MP Steven Williams speaks up for local high streets

From Steven Williams' blog of 18 January 2012 Parliament yesterday spent over 6 hours debating the future of our high streets and town centres. The debate came on the back of the Portas Review of the High Street, commissioned by the PM and DPM. Mary Portas made 28 recommendations, most of which I endorse. Bristol’s retail scene has been a hot topic for all of the period that I’ve been involved in the city’s public life. As the councillor for Cabot ward (all of the city centre) Read more [...]

A warm welcome for the Portas Review

From the Meanwhile Space website: The producers of the ‘21st Century Agora’’ report warmly welcome the Mary Portas review of the high street as a real opportunity to inject new thinking into our struggling town centres and create places where people can thrive and flourish. Our input into the review was described by Mary Portas as ‘inspirational and invaluable’ and we are particularly pleased that she has adopted a people-centred, community-based approach to her recommendations. Earlier Read more [...]

Neighbourhood Planning event in Bristol

From the Civic Voice website: Neighbourhood planning is a new way for communities to decide the future of their area. We will be running five workshop on neighbourhood planning to help everyone get involved. No expertise in planning is required. Instead of waiting for your local council, neighbourhood planning allows you to take the lead. The right to produce a neighbourhood plan is part of the new new Localism Act and it will begin this April. A large number of civic societies are already Read more [...]

Clusters – Low to Lowest Cost Solutions for the High Street

From the Bristol-based Town Centred website: Can 1+1 = > 2? Sometimes. By careful selection of the tenant mix, owners of modern shopping centres have understood the additional draw of grouping clusters of specific retail offerings. Although more challenging arranging retrospectively on an existing high street it is possible by close working between property owners and the wider business community. For example: Books – eg Hay-on-Wye A book town is a town or village with a large number Read more [...]