Future of the High Street in the spotlight at St Albans Business Festival

William Grimsey

William Grimsey - Credit: Archant

The future of St Albans High Street will be up for discussion at a forthcoming Business Breakfast on June 24.

Retail expert Bill Grimsey will be speaking at the breakfast at Westminster Lodge as part of the first ever St Albans Business Festival.

Bill Grimsey is author of Sold Out in which he argues that our towns and cities are losing their identity and dying off. He claims that various initiatives to revive the high street are too late and we have already lost the traditional high street which we grew up using.

As a previous CEO of Iceland foods and latterly the Focus Group DIY chain he is not one to shy away from speaking his mind.

In 2014 he was asked by the Labour Party to be part of their High Street Advisory Group following the Mary Portas report, however in a recent interview on Radio 4’s PM programme he stated that despite being asked for his advice he never met with former leader Ed Milband. He was also very frank on his views about ‘Ed’s interview with Russell Brand and the Tablet of Stone’.

Bill was also very forthright in his opinions of the then-Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna who he felt was not interested in hearing his views. He said Mr Umunna was the reason why the Labour Party had failed to engage with the business community - a major reason why the party did so badly in the elections earlier this month.

Lisa Bates from St Albans District Chamber of Commerce, who are hosting the event, said: “The people of St Albans are very passionate about their High Street as we know from the vocal discussions we hear about coffee shops, pound stores and the closing and opening of independents.

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“The event is a great opportunity to hear what fate Bill thinks awaits our high street and how he thinks that St Albans can continue to be a thriving shopping district. Also up for discussion with be advantages for St Albans going forward with BID (Business Improvement District) status.”

The Chamber Business Breakfast is part of a series of events taking part during the St Albans Business Festival which takes place between Monday June 22 and Friday June 26 with the support of local businesses including the Herts Advertiser.

The Business Breakfast is anticipated to be a sell-out event. Tickets for non-chamber members are priced at £27 and can be purchased online at http://www.stalbans-chamber.co.uk/buy-online/events/ or my emailing admin@stalbans-chamber.co.uk or call 01727 863054.