High hopes for Brent’s high streets

16 June 2017

Nearly every person in Brent lives half a mile from a high street. They form the heart of the borough, with great diversity and character

Like many across the UK, some high streets have struggled in recent years as more people chose to shop online or travel to large shopping centres. Brent’s high streets have great potential, but need to diversify to become vibrant places for residents, businesses and visitors to the borough, according to the council.

High streets can’t rely on only being shopping areas, they need to build on their value to the community, a recent Brent Council report says. They are places for leisure activities and have space for more non-retail businesses or homes. All these things will encourage more people to visit the area and spend money in our high streets, Brent says.

Managers for town centres

Three town centre managers are set to be hired to help accelerate the evolution of Brent’s high streets and give them a new lease of life. The town centre managers will coordinate activities and lead on plans in nine high streets working closely with residents and businesses.

The government’s plan to devolve business rates in a bid to boost enterprise and economic activity is set to happen over the next few years. Local areas which successfully promote growth and attract businesses will keep all of the benefit from increased business rate revenues.

The town centre managers will be working with high street businesses to ensure their opinions are heard, and give them a voice, as well as keeping them informed of developments.

Cllr Shama Tatler, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Growth, Employment and Skills says:

“High Streets are a key part of our daily lives: providing jobs, living space, community areas and places to shop, eat and spend time. As well as this, they are intricate parts of the culture and history of Brent and deserve to be invested in and maintained.

“We are working together with businesses, communities and residents to make our high streets the rich and vibrant places we know they can be. We’re currently developing plans to make this happen soon, and investing in Town Centre Managers to carry out the plans and be our representatives in the community.”

Next steps

Through the high street development plans, the council aims to improve Brent’s high streets. High streets provide much more than just retail, and making sure any based there are of the best quality is a key aim. Improving shop fronts, cleaning up areas, and ensuring people can access the high streets easily both in person and online will ensure a successful local economy. More space for the community to enjoy entertainment, leisure and cultural attractions and housing that is attractive and brings new residents into the borough, will help our high streets to thrive.

A helping hand for businesses

Work has already begun in Wembley High Road, with many businesses getting help to improve their digital skills, and even developing their own website: www.WHR.london.