Westminster Social Policy Forum

The future for town regeneration and investment - infrastructure, wellbeing and placemaking

Morning, Tuesday, 15th October 2019

Sixty One Whitehall, London SW1A 2ET


This seminar will discuss the future for UK towns - including priorities for policy, investment and the development of ‘Town Deals’.

It takes place as the Government invites 100 localities to put forth proposals for new Town Deals as part of the Towns Fund programme, and with the first Town Deal being signed for Greater Grimsby.

It also comes with an announced £95m in investment by the Government to support built heritage including regeneration of disused historic buildings and support for competition by traditional businesses with online outlets.

The Stronger Towns Fund, the future for ‘Town Deals’ and priorities for investment

With the recent public commitment from the Prime Minister to funding for towns, delegates will discuss priority areas for investment, best uses for additional funds and the development of the ‘Town Deal’ model.

We also expect discussion on the future for Free Ports, following announcements from the Government - as well as further preparations for Brexit.

It comes with additional funding announced by the Local Government Secretary aimed at supporting resilience at ports and councils near major transport hubs, and ensuring that all councils have a designated ‘Brexit lead’ at the time that the UK leaves the EU.

Strategies for town regeneration - assessing Select Committee recommendations for seaside towns and what can be learnt for communities across the UK

The conference also follows the Government response to the House of Lords report on regenerating seaside towns.

This sets out a commitment to the future of seaside towns through the Coastal Communities Fund, the Coastal Revival Fund, and the Tourism Sector Deal - which sets out plans for an extension of Tourism Zones where towns, business and local organisations bid for visitor economy support.

Further areas for discussion include:

  • work being done through the Future High Streets Fund, following extra spending commitments announced by the Prime Minister intended to benefit 50 additional towns across England, and
  • the new High Streets Task Force, designed to offer local authorities guidance on revitalising high streets and town centres - as well as the development of Local Industrial Strategies to support the sector.

Delegates will assess its wide-ranging recommendations - and their significance for towns in all regions of the UK - which include:

  • introducing ‘enterprise zones’;
  • improving digital and transport connectivity;
  • the role of the creative industries in leading regeneration; and
  • increasing partnership working to improve access to education, health and housing.

The Select Committee on Regenerating Seaside Towns and Communities report also put forward specific calls for the Government to review the effectiveness of the Coastal Communities Fund and a focus on the ‘Town Deal’ model on coastal communities with Blackpool prioritised.

Case studies on addressing the underlying factors affecting towns as places to live and work

Delegates will hear from front-line examples addressing these issues in towns across the UK and consider the challenges for joining-up working across the public, private and third sector bodies involved and scaling up initiatives that work.

We expect discussion on addressing health inequalities in towns and the impact on wellbeing and productivity, priorities for dealing with changes in the demands for skills, leading regeneration by improving the cultural offer in towns, providing greater access to affordable public transport, and the role of social enterprise in rebuilding local economies.

Effective town centre regeneration

Attendees will look at the future for town centres, rethinking their use in light of structural challenges in the retail sector and assessing the effectiveness of Business Improvement Districts, as well as considering international case studies on town regeneration.

With the National Planning Policy Framework aiming to ensure the ‘vitality of town centres’, delegates will discuss how the planning system can best be used to develop vibrant communities, looking at long-term planning for a mix of uses and planning residential development appropriately, as well as challenges posed by the extension of permitted development rights to retail properties.

With the new funding announced by government for historic high streets, we also expect consideration of how the investment can best be used for the communities involved.

Keynote Speakers

Rachel Campbell

Head of Regeneration, Cities and Local Growth Unit

Rt Hon the Lord Bassam of Brighton

Chair, House of Lords Regenerating Seaside Towns Select Committee

Councillor Philip Jackson

Leader, North East Lincolnshire Council

Keynote Speakers

Rachel Campbell

Head of Regeneration, Cities and Local Growth Unit

Rt Hon the Lord Bassam of Brighton

Chair, House of Lords Regenerating Seaside Towns Select Committee

Councillor Philip Jackson

Leader, North East Lincolnshire Council

Professor Christopher Turner

Chief Executive, British BIDs


Melanie Onn MP

Member of Parliament for Great Grimsby

Martin Vickers MP

Member of Parliament for Cleethorpes


Margaret Bolton

Director of Policy, Local Trust

Gareth Hart

Chair, Plymouth Social Enterprise Network (recorded presentation)

Rob Andrew

Regeneration Manager, Economic Growth and Development, Cornwall Council

Richard Kendall

Executive Director, Strategic Policy Business Development, Humber Local Enterprise Partnership

Liz Gaulton

Director of Public Health and Wellbeing, Coventry City Council

Dr Kris Declercq

Mayor, Roeselare, Belgium

Councillor Laura Price

Chair, West Oxfordshire Community Transport and Member, Oxfordshire County Council

Jo Lappin

Chief Executive, Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership

Mark Robinson

Property Director and Co-Founder, Ellandi and President, Revo

Ilias Drivylas

Associate Director, Economic Development, AECOM

Paul Bristow

Director, Strategic Partnerships, Arts Council England

Beatrice Crabb

Chartered Planner, Royal Town Planning Institute