Building Resilient, Balanced Town Centres

This section presents tools that can act as building blocks to supporting and attracting a healthy mix of businesses and people to invest, trade, employ and reside on your high street. Resilience as a concept is a great starting point when considering what the future may hold for your town centre; having an over-reliance on one specific business or business category leaves you vulnerable to changes such as recessions, but equally, being seen as a specialist location has incredible value when promoting your area. As always, balance, partnership working and a managed evidence-base should be your first port of call.


So, what is resilience?

Imagine a stool with three legs. Sit on it. Now make one of the stool legs shorter; not very comfy is it? Remove a leg completely and you can't sit on the stool at all; it is no longer fit for purpose and you'll probably be looking to buy a new one in the near future or get your hammer out.

Resilience for town centres can be visualised as this three-legged stool. A strong, balanced partnership is a good place to start when building a great place. By having an equal blend of public sector, private sector and community voices equally and actively involved with planning and decision-making, you can be sure to get some really engaging projects and suggestions to take your town centre forward.

Where one group is left out in the cold (ie, where one leg of our imaginary stool is missing), it becomes harder for a town centre to ensure it appeals to the community and consumer groups around it and it therefore begins to over-rely on one particular aspect of its appeal.