Express & Star

Town brings in high street guru

Businesses in Sutton Coldfield are being invited to hear from the UK’s top high street guru to help reinvigorate the heart of the Royal Town.

Hight Street guru May ‘Queen of Shops’ Portas is being recruited by Sutton Coldfield BID

Royal Sutton Coldfield Business Improvement District – which is funded by 377 local businesses – is calling in Mary Portas to address local businesses at a seminar in the town centre this June.

BID chairman Alison Clack, managing director of Cerda Planning, said: “We are very excited by the prospect of Mary Portas coming to Sutton Coldfield and sharing her knowledge and expertise in a way that will inspire local businesses.

“The BID understands that Sutton Coldfield town centre, like most towns and High Streets across the UK, is going through a period of change and we simply cannot ignore the concerns expressed in the media and on social media.

“We feel that an inspirational seminar from a renowned expert in this field will help to bring local businesses together with a renewed sense of resilience and pride in their town centre.

“High Streets and town centres are changing and, at the seminar, businesses from all sectors will hear first-hand how they can work together and overcome the challenges they face.

“As a BID representing hundreds of local businesses in the town centre, we want to change the narrative that Sutton Coldfield is more than just retail and be as proactive as possible. Bringing in Mary Portas to share her knowledge and expertise will go some way to help in these challenging times.”

Businesswoman, broadcaster, author and activist Portas conducted a review of the future for high streets for the Government in 2011.

Sutton Coldfield town centre is the Second City’s second biggest shopping and business area, second only in size to Birmingham city centre, and its BID delivers year round events to boost footfall such as the monthly farmers and craft market and Christmas events.

Last year the BID started its new five-year term by launching a ‘Visit Royal Sutton Coldfield’ brand – with special events, competitions and improvements designed to make it a destination to spend time, eat, drink, shop and relax.

The programme of events has seen a significant upturn in footfall for the centre, and more are planned throughout 2023.

BID manager Michelle Baker said: “Bringing an expert of Mary Portas’s stature to Sutton Coldfield for this seminar is the next step in the renewal of our town centre, which the BID is driving through investment in special events and improvements.

“We know there are exciting regeneration plans for the town centre and until that gets underway we will continue to play our part and host events to boost footfall and support local businesses.

“We encourage businesses to attend this event with Mary Portas, to hear how town centres are changing and how we can all play our part.”

The seminar, which will be held on Wednesday, June 7 at Sutton Coldfield College, will be free to BID Members – but will be invite only.

To find out more about the event, inquire about attendance and discover sponsorship opportunities, contact Michell by emailing:

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