South Gloucestershire High Street Catalyst

High Streets Catalyst Project – Feasibility and Options development

South Gloucestershire Council was seeking Consultant support for four feasibility and development projects designed to support the recovery of Highstreets in a ‘post COVID’ world. Phase 1 included feasibility and development activities, beginning the delivery of pilot interventions, and establishing the business case for further investment. 

The specific projects are outlined below, however the work was to be run as a programme to deliver four overarching objectives

The Four Projects:

1) Thornbury High Street Public Realm - Stakeholder Engagement and Options Development for Traffic Restriction

To prepare design and evidence to help inform the decision to be made on the future for Thornbury High Street and the surrounding roads - Rock Street and Chapel Street, following the period of the experimental TRO to close Thornbury High Street to vehicles. To support the Council in further community and stakeholder engagement and work with the community to build trust in the project. Further work is required to design and plan the High Street adaptation to ensure the High Street is the future hub of a thriving community.

2) Kingswood High Street Hub – Options Development

Use of currently vacant premises within Kingschase Shopping centre to create a community focused hub of mixed use. Specific uses will be defined by community engagement, but will include a learning and training centre (for upskilling and digital training), bookable meeting, community and learning spaces, re-use shop (sourced from the Sort-it-centres) and bike swap. The hubs will be rolled out to each High Street and Town Centre in SGC following as part of a phase 2 ask. Linked also to Cohort 3 of the Trading Better online project. Wider learning across WoE High Streets.

3) Hanham High Street Public Realm - Options development for Public Realm improvements

To prepare design and evidence to support public realm changes in Hanham High Street as part of a re-visioning of the High Street. Current survey information has shown a desire from the community to enhance the public realm including reducing vehicle movements through the High Street and further community engagement is required to refine the options. This is linked to a wider vision for Hanham High Street and its environs, which in due course will embed further public realm changes, creation of a High Street Hub and redevelopment opportunities as well as embedding digital opportunities and clean and green initiatives which would be subject to Phase 2.

4) Digital High Street Project – Evidence Gathering and Feasibility Study

Supported by the re-branding of our High Streets in South Glos would be the development of a package of digital infrastructure to facilitate the creation digitally healthy high streets. The work will require an audit of current digital infrastructure for each high street including but not restricted to connectivity, wifi availability and the current click and collect offer. The outcome would be for all our high streets to have the digital infrastructure to allow access to an online shopping platform complementing high street wide and individual websites, free wifi and be fully click and collect enabled supporting and promoting digital inclusion. Key link to identify the need for upskilling/training support to help businesses embrace digital technologies and identifying how this could be linked to Cohort 3 of the Trading Better online project.

TownCentred worked on all four commisssions jointly with Atkins.