Evans Jones Host Latest West Berkshire Property Forum

Evans Jones returned to Berkshire with a special event for the autumn examining ‘The Future of the High Street’.

Property professionals from across the region joined Evans Jones for a breakfast seminar on Monday 7th October at The Vineyard Hotel, Newbury. Guests enjoyed the opportunity to network and discuss this topical issue over breakfast before settling down to hear from our panel of experts about their thoughts and plans for the changing shape of the UK High Street.                                 

The seminar was chaired by David Jones, Managing Director and Head of Planning at Evans Jones, who welcomed everyone to the event and briefly explored some of the current concerns of the High Street and his predictions for its future. He then continued by introducing the line-up of speakers for the morning’s discussion. Tim Major, from the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce kindly joined us to give a brief overview of the chamber and their work in the region.

The first of our experts to take to the floor was Kate Keogan, Branch Manager at John Lewis, Newbury, who began by looking at the decline in high street shoppers before discussing the ways that John Lewis is adapting to these changing trends. The aim of their stores is to be a ‘destination’ on the high street, an experience for shoppers, rather than just a place to purchase a physical item.

Next up, Tim Smith MBE, Chief Executive of The Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) provided the audience with an overview of their work and explored their role in developing and leading a Local Industrial Strategy for the UK’s most productive sub region. 

Principal Planner at Evans Jones, Mark Campbell focused his talk on the current Planning System and whether the tools in place are enough to support our changing high streets. Alongside his presentation, Mark put attendees’ knowledge to the test with an ‘iconic brands’ quiz – the winner, Suki Hardy from Gardner Leader, went home with a bottle of wine!

Ian Blake, Director at Morse Webb Architects rounded up the morning by providing a visual representation of the changing face of the high street. Using pictures from places around the world (including some of his own holiday snaps), Ian gave examples of ways we could improve the UK High Street and attract shoppers, residents and workers back to our towns and city centres.

You can find a copy of the presentation here.

We hold regular Property Forums in various locations across the UK including Cheltenham, West Berkshire and Swindon.

Please keep an eye on Twitter for our future events.

For more information on our Planning Consultancy services or if you have any questions from the event, you can contact us here.