Senior politicians from a powerful national select committee visited Stockton town centre this week as part of an inquiry into the future of the nation’s high streets.
MPs from the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee toured the town centre and held discussions with business and council leaders.
They are currently gathering evidence about how high streets are changing and adapting, with a focus on how they might look in 2030.
It’s the second such visit to Stockton High Street in less than a week, following a similar visit by representatives from the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly.
Councillor Nigel Cooke, Stockton Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and housing, said: “We were pleased to host such high profile visitors this week and last to have a positive conversation about the current situation town centres both here in the Borough and wider afield are going through.
“Their particular interest in Stockton town centre and our plans for its repurposing and regeneration follows the national focus we had earlier this year when straight-talking retail expert Bill Grimsey highlighted the town centre work we’re leading as a forward-thinking case study in his national review.
“‘The Grimsey Review 2’ outlined that town centres need to shift their focus from purely retail to also include housing, business, leisure, arts, heritage, health and education facilities – we’re aspiring to this with projects like the restoration of the Globe and the regeneration of the former Victoria Estate.
“That’s an ongoing journey and there’s a heck of a lot of work still to do but is a welcome opportunity to also share all of the current challenges, frustrations and opportunities that are happening both on high streets in the Borough and across the whole UK.
“That two groups of senior politicians have chosen to come here is yet more national recognition for what we are trying to achieve as we seek to help town centres adapt to the most significant period of change in their history.”
In December 2016, Stockton was crowned a ‘Rising Star’ in the Great British High Street of the Year Awards.
The judges specifically recognised the regeneration and delivery of a transformed town centre that is distinct from others given the changing nature of high streets.