Category Archives: IHBC Area of competence – Professional

Planning the Future of British High Streets: Working Together to Revive City Centres

31 October 2018

British High Streets are witnessing a decline in their ability to attract shoppers and visitors. Footfall has continued to shrink, with 3% less shoppers between March and May 2018 compared to the same period in 2017 (IPSOS 2018). This decline has economic repercussions, and many shops have been forced to close. A BBC report (2017) found a decline of 17% in the number of retailers operating in the towns studied. This is expected to impact the number of retail jobs available in British city centres, with retail positions expected to decline by 900,000 by 2025 (Deloitte 2017). Online shopping has limited the high street’s potential market, as has a decrease in disposable income, with 3% inflation of prices cancelling out wage growth of 2.2% (Bank of England 2018).

The Government has enacted policy aimed at counteracting this decline. In 2017 Chancellor Phillip Hammond enacted the “biggest ever cut in business rates”, with a £6.7bn 5 year package. In autumn of the same year, the Government published its white paper on housing, promising to develop new housing with better access to central urban areas. In 2018 Public Health England published ‘Healthy High Streets’, a series of recommendations to help urban environs become clean, healthy and to improve the experience of both visitors and residents.

Despite this, challenges remain to halt the decline of high street retailers. Mary Portas, who wrote the Government’s own assessment of high street prospects in 2011, has stated the Government needs to completely remove business rates or risk losing a third of shops. The Centre for Cities has also raised concerns about the Government’s spending on infrastructure, seen as key to enabling people to visit high streets. This is backed by an Office for Budget Responsibility report suggesting that the government will only spend half of its planned £5 billion budget on improving infrastructure. The increasing housing crisis is also a challenge, with high inner city accommodation costs pricing out people who otherwise would use their local high street more regularly.

This symposium offers an invaluable opportunity for local authorities, retailers, planning authorities and landlords to discuss the challenges facing British high streets and to share best practice in order to address these substantial issues.

Delegates will:

Assess methods to maximise infrastructure spending to best support high streets

  • Investigate how relevant stakeholders can collaborate most effectively
  • Analyse how to overcome the barrier of unaffordable housing near high streets
  • Understand the high street’s role in developing a sense of community in urban areas
  • Learn how to use social media effectively to promote high street retail shops
  • Discover the best practices used to promote increased footfall on high streets
  • Understand the effect business rates have on the success of high street stores
  • Identify the way to record footfall and how to use this data effectively

To view our brochure, including the full event programme, click here.

Conserving the Assets of Our Past – RIAS Autumn Seminar

Date: Tuesday 2 October 2018

Venue: The Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh

Time: 1.00pm to 5.00pm

Cost: RIAS accredited members and members of Practice Services: £24 inc. VAT

RIAS member: £30 inc. VAT

Non-members: £42 inc. VAT 

The RIAS conservation autumn seminar is now open for bookings. Topics will include development of the HES Asset Management Plan, HES Corporate Plan consultation, inspecting tenements and church quinquennials, practical advice on survey specification for digital documentation and the restoration of the Great Pagoda at Kew Gardens. 

For a programme and booking form click here.

If you would like to book a place, please complete the booking form and email it to

Urban archaeology in the UK

15 November 2018

ALGAO UK has organised a training day, to be held at the Birmingham and Midland Institute, Birmingham. The theme of the day will be Urban archaeology in the UK and will be run by the Urban Committee.

The provisional programme is below. Attendance is free for ALGAO members, non-members will be charged. 

Please contact Ruth Beckley ( to book your place(s). Please specify any dietary requirements. 

Provisional Programme for the day

  • 10am Coffee
  • 10.30 Welcome
  •  The outcomes of the Urban Archaeological Strategy project (David McOmish, HE).
  • Research agendas and urban archaeology- which way forward? (Dan Miles HE)
  • 11.30
  • Managing the urban archaeology of Edinburgh (John Lawson)
  • Managing the urban archaeology of Ipswich (Abby Antrobus)
  • 12.30-1.30 Lunch (provided)
  • Roman London: the challenges of big data (title tbc) Dominic Perring
  • Anglo-Saxon urban archaeology; does the concept make sense? (John Blair, Oxford University)
  • 2.30-2.45 Tea and Coffee
  • The Challenges of synthesising urban data (title tbc)- Nigel Baker
  • Recent research into medieval towns (Ben Jervis, Cardiff University)
  • 3.45-4pm What next?

Contemporary Approaches to Sustainability in European Cities

20 September 2018

The Academy of Urbanism and University of Dundee are delighted to convene a special event to consider the application of contemporary strategies to make medium-sized cities more sustainable in environmental, socio-economic and cultural terms.

We have invited senior speakers from leading AoU European City Finalists, including Bilbao, Freiburg and Ljubljana together with additional input from Scottish and UK specialists.

Further information will be available in due course here 

Event Format

13.00 Registration and Networking
14.00 Welcome + Introduction
14.10 AoU City Assessments David Rudlin AoU
14.25 International seminar with 5 talks
16.20 Q & A
17.00 Reception
18.30 Close



Cycle in the City

18 August 2018

Over the weekend the bustling streets of the City are quiet and peaceful making it the perfect time to discover the Square Mile by bike. Join Peter Murray (Chairman of The City Centre and NLA) for this one-off cycling tour of The City of London. The tour will take in key pieces of architecture such as Smithfield Market, the Barbican, London Wall and new developments in the Easter Cluster Area. We will explore the rapidly changing architectural landscape and investigate the opportunities and challenges that will arise in the area over the next decade. The route will allow riders to study the Corporation’s recent improvements to cycling and walking infrastructure in the Square Mile.

This tour will start at The City Centre, 80 Basinghall Street, EC2V 5AG and end at Aldgate in the East.

Guests are invited to bring their own bicycles. Santander cycles are available to hire nearby from Cheapside, Wood Street, Aldermanbury, Finsbury Circus, The Bank of England Museum and Fore Street. See here for hire details.