On the 25 and 26 March, representatives from Antur Teifi attended the Future High Street Summit in Nottingham. Eleri Lewis from Canta and Jude Boutle the Llandrindod Town Champion were accompanied by Angharad Williams a young businesswoman from Lampeter.
Angharad who owns Lan Lofft on Bridge Street, secured her place at the Summit through the Antur Teifi Community Fund after presenting a written application outlining her interest in the future of the high street and how she would share the information gathered to other interested individuals, organisations and businesses in the Teifi Valley.
As highlighted by Bill Grimsey in the event organised by Antur Teifi last year, the pace of change in retailing has never been so fast and towns need to recognse this by setting out a long term vision in order to prosper. This will entail the need for:
Insight Planning Collaboration
Over two days, almost 40 speakers corroborated this opinion by sharing their knowledge, experise and experiences with all those present.
Four common themes emerged which need to be addressed to ensure the successful transition of the high street into a vibrant and relevant place for our communities.
- The ability of retailers to embrace digital platforms. Bricks and mortar are still important but have to be looked at in a different way.
- Working collaboratively is of the essence. The high street is important to everyone living in that community. Planning how to make it work is therefore everybody’s responsibility.
- Strong leadership is required to implement a long-term vision – balancing the ability to adhere to the strategy whilst making things happen.
- Diversity in what the high street has to offer is becoming more important. It is the responsibility of those planning for the future to recognise what is needed to bring people into the town.
Angharad said “The event has given me a lot of ideas for my own business and some that other businesses in Lampeter hopefully will be willing to explore in order to benefit themselves as well as the town.”
Jude was also enthused by many of the speakers. She said “With cuts in council services and funding we all have to be more creative and inventive in how we do things in the future. Working with councils rather than letting them do things on our behalf is now the way ahea”
For Eleri, the prospect of enabling businesses to help themselves is exciting. “We are fortunate in Wales that our communities are based upon collabortive action. What is needed now is to reinvigorate the co-operative dynamic so that social collaboration includes the business community.”
By sharing the experiences of others from the Summit and adapting them to our own situation here in the Teifi Valley is work in which Antur Teifi will have a large part to play.