This report explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the future of UK towns. The authors have developed a new typology of towns, and provide in-depth analysis of the challenges facing different town types.
- Different towns have different needs: ex-industrial towns face particular challenges and should be a priority for investment.
- However, there is surprisingly little variation by town type in terms of preferences regarding the future of their town.
- That’s not to say people in towns are united behind a clear vision of what they want their towns to look like: they are simply divided within towns rather than between them.
- Designing policies for the future of towns that unite people in them will be a tough task. Different groups are diametrically opposed across many areas.
- Attitudes regarding diversity will be a key issue to address - half of the population are very open to new people coming into their towns, half are strongly opposed.
- Town leaders to engage their residents and local business leaders in an open, participatory conversation about the future of the high street.
- Ex-industrial towns to be a priority for investment.
- Central government investment in towns to be conditional on buy-in from the local community and business leaders.