Westminster Social Policy Forum

We are continuing to organise full-scale virtual conferences which retain all the features of physical seminars, including full programmes, presentations with slides, panel discussions and live delegate questions and comments sessions, person-to-person and group networking, and a permanent record provided to all delegates afterwards. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time, so there are plenty of opportunities to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are.
For booking-related queries or information on speaking please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk, or contact us: +44 (0)1344 864796.

If you’re already booked on, joining instructions can be accessed from five working days before your conference via the booking dashboard. Need help? You can contact our Delegate Relations team at delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk or by calling the above number.

Next steps for high streets and town centres in England - renewal, adaptation, and levelling up

Morning, Wednesday, 7th September 2022

This conference will examine the next steps for development of England’s high streets and town centres.

Stakeholders and policymakers will assess proposals in the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill and key issues around:

  • investment in town centres and promoting local growth
  • reforms to the planning system
  • restoring pride of place in high streets and town centres

The conference will also be a timely opportunity to discuss the future direction of government policy under a new prime minister.

It takes place alongside the Government’s newly tabled programme of legislation for levelling up and regional development, including the proposed establishment of the UK Infrastructure Bank in statute, and proposals for reform of public procurement in the Procurement Bill.

Areas for discussion include:

  • planning - likely impact of proposed reforms on town centre regeneration - local commercial development and economic growth - challenges to business adaptation and project management
  • digital insight - learning from the use of data analytics and innovation harnessed in strategy implemented since the pandemic
  • local economic strategy - investment - opportunities for promoting SME business growth - community enterprise and collaboration - effectiveness of local government policy for economic growth
  • pride of place - case studies, strategies and initiatives in restoration projects, community engagement and improvements to local areas
  • retail - future of retail on England’s high streets - proposals for business rates reform - challenges to local business growth and operations - promoting collaboration with community stakeholders and enterprises

We are pleased to be able to include keynote sessions with Paul Scully MP, Minister of State for Local Government, Faith and Communities, Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities; and Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium

The conference will be an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who are due to attend from DfT; DLUHC; HM Treasury; and The Scottish Government.

Keynote Speakers

Paul Scully MP

Minister of State for Local Government, Faith and Communities, Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

Helen Dickinson

Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium

Keynote Speakers

Helen Dickinson

Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium

Paul Scully MP

Minister of State for Local Government, Faith and Communities, Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities


Baroness Valentine

Director of Place, Business in the Community


Dr Jo Morrison

Director of Digital Innovation and Research, Calvium

Holly Lewis

Co-founding Partner, We Made That

Ms Samantha Poole

CEO, Ask GoTo; and Senior Project Coordinator, Incubation Nation CIC, Milton Keynes

Michael Kill

Chief Executive, Night Time Industries Association

Richard Roe

Corporate Director for Place, Trafford Council

Jo Platt

General Manager, Leigh Building Preservation Trust; and former MP for Leigh

Councillor Julie Jones-Evans

Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Business Development and Tourism, Isle of Wight Council

Helen Dewdney

Journalist & Author; and Founder, The Complaining Cow

Lizzie Le Mare

Director, Tibbalds

Councillor Steve Siddons

Leader, Scarborough Borough Council