Warwickshire towns offered "great place leadership" by WCC
"In many ways, I think the work that Aaron Corsi and his team do is best practice and I think a lot more regions should aspire to the level of place leadership that they demonstrate."
The 2023 Warwickshire Towns Network Conference “stimulated new discussions and connections” which will now be taken forward to benefit the economy county-wide, believes Joe Barratt, Expert Co-Ordinator of the High Streets Task Force.
Barratt was among the speakers at the conference in his role with the Task Force which has been running since 2019 with a remit to support 150 locations across the UK.
He loved seeing the passion and commitment on show from towns and villages across Warwickshire to work together to overcome the challenges facing high streets today.
“What I appreciated most about the conference was how it stimulated new discussions and connections between all those who attended, setting the stage for further collaboration and progress in the region,” he said. “I look forward to carrying these discussions on, including how we can put a regional strategy of support in place for young people through the delivery of Teenage Market events.
“I was incredibly impressed by the leadership shown by Warwickshire County Council in bringing together 80 stakeholders from across the region for the conference. The session provided a great opportunity to share the High Street’s Task Force’s frameworks for revitalisation and see the Institute of Place Management's principles put into practice, with the Atherstone Town Partnership standing out as a shining example of what can be achieved when communities work together.”
The Towns Network Conference was a resounding success and Barratt paid tribute to the County Council team which organised it – and delivers support week in and week out for the towns of Warwickshire.
“What’s great about Warwickshire is that at Warwickshire County Council you have got great place leadership on show,” he said. “They do a fantastic job in coordinating the towns to network, not just in terms of organising the conference but in all the work they do behind the scenes. In many ways, I think the work that Aaron Corsi and his team do is best practice and I think a lot more regions should aspire to the level of place leadership that they demonstrate.
“That leadership is so important because a collective approach is the only way forward. It’s all about redefining the high street. The high streets of yesteryear were mainly places of retail. Our mission is to talk about how we need to move away from that monoculture of retail and much more towards a diverse mixture - health, housing, culture, education and green space, making places that people want to visit and stay in.
“Warwickshire has some amazing towns, great raw material, so it’s just a question of how we make the most of them.”