St Albans is "bucking the trend" according to the chair of the Highstreets Task Force, with a "thriving" city centre.

Mark Robinson visited the city on Friday (January 26), after being invited by St Albans MP Daisy Cooper.

The government-backed task force Mr Robinson represents has been gathering evidence over a five-year period and is set to report back to government in July, with recommendations on how to revitalise Britain’s high streets.

After meeting with a number of businesses and centre managers in Christopher Place, The Maltings and throughout the high street, Mr Robinson praised St Albans' bustling city centre.

"St Albans is a beautiful historic city and it was a pleasure to spend the afternoon meeting with a number of local businesses, listening to their concerns, and celebrating their achievements.

Herts Advertiser: Mark Robinson was invited by St Albans MP Daisy Cooper.Mark Robinson was invited by St Albans MP Daisy Cooper. (Image: Danny Loo Photography 2018)

"I've travelled the length and breadth of the country to get under the skin of local communities and the challenges facing their high streets. 

"It's great to see that St Albans is bucking the trend with a really thriving high street and a fantastic mix of small businesses and familiar big names, but it's clear that it's not without its challenges.

"The next government, whatever it looks like, will need to grapple with the mounting challenges facing small businesses, such as post-Covid loans, rising rents and of course, real reform or preferably replacement, of the broken business rates system. 

"The innovation of local businesses in St Albans and the flexibility of their business models will definitely inform my thinking and the recommendations of the High Street Task Force to government later this year." 


Daisy Cooper MP added: "It was fantastic to welcome Mark to St Albans and introduce him to the owners and managers of some of our high street businesses: the very businesses that form the glue which hold our community together and make the centre of St Albans so special.  

“It was great to showcase their hard work and innovative business models, and the diversity on our high street as a model for other areas.

"It was also important for me to impress upon him just how important business rates reform should be for the next government.’’