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Ten point checklist to support safe return to Hertfordshire high streets

Published: 27 April 2021St Albans MarketRe-opening high streets safely: St Albans market

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Hertfordshire Growth Board with the Institute of Place Management (IPM) has drawn up a ten-point checklist to help town centres re-open safely and recovery quickly from COVID-19.

The checklist gives guidance on how to safely reintroduce footfall and build back better post pandemic to stakeholders that have a role to play in delivering town centre measures

It follows a workshop organised by Hertfordshire Growth Board and led by IPM in March. This brought 35 Hertfordshire leaders together to develop local knowledge about place-making and place management, highlighting different actions they can take to support recovery.

The checklist aims to help revive and maintain footfall safely and tackle future challenges in a consistent, evidence-based way. It identifies small interventions that can be made at a local level, enabling and empowering stakeholders to improve their own places and adapt to the ‘new normal’.

A report has also been produced which includes best practice resources and encourages local authorities and partners to use their immediate plans for high street recovery to help pave the way for long-term transformation of town centres.

The Government’s Welcome Back Fund is providing councils across England a share of £56 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to support the safe return to high streets. Just over £1m has been allocated to Hertfordshire to help create and promote a safe environment for local trade and tourism.

The report also suggests measures that could be introduced countywide across all of its town centres to support re-opening and deliver cost savings.    

Patsy Dell, Director, Hertfordshire Growth, Hertfordshire Growth Board, said: “This is a great example of how well we can work together as a county when we have the kind of committed, proactive leadership that we now see bearing fruit through the Hertfordshire Growth Board.

“Local place management and leadership are more important than ever as we emerge from COVID-19; places that work together will recover more quickly. This checklist will equip our stakeholders with the tools to proactively adapt their high street plans and tackle future challenges to their areas.”

Ka Ng, Interim Chief Executive of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, said: “We moved fast with our partners across Hertfordshire to produce a practical checklist. But reopening high streets is more than that. It is bottom up and top down collaboration between people who love their towns, high streets and places and who understand that to seize new opportunities and face the future, we need to work together. It is the start of a conversation.”