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The University of Southampton

Southampton professor helps shape our future high streets

Published: 27 March 2013
Professor Neil Wrigley
Neil has been appointed to the Government's Future High Streets Forum

Professor of Human Geography at the University of Southampton Neil Wrigley has been appointed as the academic member for the new national Future High Streets Forum.

The Forum will bring together leaders from retail, property and business to better understand the competition town centres across the country face and to drive forward new ideas and policies, building on the work of The Portas Review of the future of the high street. In particular, it will advise the country’s 27 Portas Pilot Towns and 330 Portas Town Team Partners on how to adapt to a new era of online shopping and the changing way in which consumers shop.

Professor Neil Wrigley comments: “I am delighted to be the sole academic member of this important Department for Communities and Local Government group and in particular to helping review the evidence base on which policy recommendations will be based.”

Professor Wrigley’s pioneering research ranks him consistently as one of the world’s leading economic geographers, credited with research and policy contributions relating to the rise and implications of retailer power in the global economy.

Over the past decade, his research has increasingly concentrated on policy-focused evidence-based research on retail access, competition and planning. His studies into the high street are credited with having been instrumental in broadening out and enriching policy debate in the UK. Professor Wrigley has conducted large-scale and rigorous ‘before / after’ studies of the impact of planning-policy, compliant in-centre / edge-of-centre retail development, on UK market towns and district centres. He has also carried out research into the market entry and exit of small stores in more than 1,000 town centres and high streets.

The Future High Streets Forum will be co-chaired by Local Growth Minister Mark Prisk and Alex Gourlay, Chief Executive, Health & Beauty Division, Alliance Boots, and will draw on the expertise of experienced members of the retail industry, academics and trade organisations.

For more information on the Future High Streets Forum please visit:


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