BIS representatives visit Gloucester for meeting on regenerating the high streets in the county

GFirst LEP (the Local Enterprise Partnership for Gloucestershire) hosted six Members of Parliament from the House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Select Committee in Gloucestershire today. The MPs visited the county to see firsthand GFirst LEP’s work as the national Retail Pathfinder. As the first organisation to be awarded Pathfinder status, GFirst LEP is supporting retail across the county and creating a blueprint for boosting town centres across the UK.

The BIS Committee spent the day with LEP board members and representatives of the GFirst LEP Retail Sector Group, made up of local business leaders brought together by GFirst LEP to drive change in the sector and boost the county’s retail performance. The LEP updated the BIS Committee on the Retail Group’s strategy and implementation of the retail toolkit, a set of tools which help communities, local authorities, LEPs and town centre managers to redevelop struggling high streets.  

The BIS Select Committee team visiting Gloucestershire included chair Adrian Bailey, along with other MPs from both the Labour and Conservative parties. As well as meeting with members of the LEP board and Retail Sector Group, the MPs were taken on a tour of Gloucester Quays and the Kings Quarter, where representatives of Stanhope plc outlined the planned £60m redevelopment.

David Owen, Chief Executive of GFirst LEP comments: “We arranged the visit for the BIS Select Committee to demonstrate the progress we have made as a Retail Pathfinder in understanding the needs of, and challenges to, Gloucestershire’s retail sector. There is already a bedrock of great retail success stories in Gloucestershire like SuperGroup and with the help of the retail toolkit and the right investment, the county could become a hub of retail regeneration. The progress we have made in understanding the needs of Gloucestershire’s high streets is helping to inform national strategy on the topic, as well as encouraging key investment to the county.”

Diane Savory Chair of GFirst LEP and former Chief Operating Officer of SuperGroup adds: “It was great for us to show the committee our findings to date and how well our programme is progressing. Since becoming a Retail Pathfinder we have developed the retail toolkit and GFirst LEP is supporting Cirencester in becoming the first town in the country to put it into action in the coming months. It will bring real benefit to retailers in Gloucestershire, helping them understand their high street better and monitor and evaluate performance more effectively.”

The visit was arranged following a meeting in Westminster between the BIS Select Committee and GFirst LEP Chief Executive David Owen.

The retail toolkit includes a classification matrix to identify a town centre’s ‘personality’ as well as materials which help to measure and evaluate the performance of a high street against its stated vision for the future. The ‘Successful town centres - developing effective strategies’ report and toolkit can be viewed at

To find out more about GFirst LEP, visit

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