Action plan to help city’s high street

Laura Marshall, Natalie Huntington, Elizabeth Kaye and Allison Burnley.
Laura Marshall, Natalie Huntington, Elizabeth Kaye and Allison Burnley.

An action plan has been drawn up to help regenerate the city centre.

Bosses from Marks & Spencer, Santander and Boots met to discuss ways to boost trade, increase footfall and reduce the amount of empty units.

It comes after Wakefield was chosen as one of 34 cities to be apart of the Healthy High Streets programme.

The retail bosses want to open a stall in The Ridings Shopping Centre offering to wrap Christmas gifts for free two days a week.

And they plan to convert empty units into pop-up shops and support the city’s Christmas market.

Santander branch director Natalie Huntington said: “The meeting was very productive and we have some great ideas.

“We are 100 per cent behind the Healthy High Streets scheme and other shops have reacted positively to what we’re trying to do.”

The retailers also want to put festive baubles in selected stores and shoppers are then tasked with trying to find them.

Boots store manager Laura Marshall said: “Having something like this in the shops would be great - imagine the impact. It gives people more of a reason to go and visit other shops, which brings more people into Wakefield.”

The Healthy High Streets programme is backed by some of the country’s biggest high street brands.

The scheme was first launched in June 2014 and it was designed to increase footfall by 10 per cent.

It aims to reduce the number of vacant units by 20 per cent and help create new jobs in 100 cities and towns over the next three years.

The retailers will meet in January to discuss future events they want to support.

Any businesses interested in supporting the Healthy High Streets scheme should email wakefieldcitycentrepartnership@gmail.com.