High street powers must be handed to councils, says Bill Grimsey

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A new review of the UK high street has been published, called Build, Back, Better. It is the third report undertaken by Grimsey, the former chief executive of Wickes, Focus and The Big Food Group. 

The first two were published in 2013 and 2018 respectively.

The latest report said a revival of high streets relies on Whitehall handing more powers to local authorities. 

It also revealed that almost 50% of retailers are at risk of failure, further emphasising the need to switch to a model of local empowerment.

Grimsey said: “We need to build local economies around people who have a proper stake in their communities, not distant investors and absent landlords who only see them as a number on their portfolio investment.”

The report contained a number of recommendations, including the transfer of power to communities, a reduction in streets and a significant increase in green space, parks and town squares. It also recognised that town centres must no longer be designed around cars.

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