Five months after being named England’s best high street, Altrincham has been selected to be the pilot town for a major new initiative called National High Street Perfect Day.
The idea of National High Street Perfect Day is to have one day in the year when every high street looks and feels the best it possibly can – and in recognition of the incredible revival of its town centre in recent years, Altrincham is to trial it before a national roll-out.
It follows the Government’s ‘High Street Report’ in December, chaired by Sir John Timpson CBE, which recommended that local leaders must be at the forefront of the rejuvenation of town centres and improving the housekeeping of their high streets.
The idea is inspired by a similar approach used by Timpson, the shoe repairs and key-cutting company founded by Sir John’s great grandfather, which now has over 1,300 units across the UK.
Sir John, Chair of the Expert Advisory Panel on High Streets and Timpsons chairman, said: “Altrincham is where I served my first customer, and that’s one of the reasons I proposed it as the pilot town for the ‘National High Street Perfect Day’. It’s a town where the partnerships are working really hard in a challenging national high street environment to buck the trend.
“The ‘Perfect Day’ concept is one which we use in my shops throughout the country and it has worked for us for years. On one day each year, in every part of the business, the whole team get involved to make sure they shine on the day! Scaling it up to a whole town centre is an exciting proposition and I look forward to seeing the results in Altrincham.”
The whole community, including the businesses represented by Altrincham Unlimited (the Business Improvement District), schools, voluntary groups and Trafford Council will be working towards ‘one special day’ in many ways.
Watch Altrincham business owners talk about Altrincham’s ‘Perfect Day’:
The BID is coordinating a programme of jet washing and working with Trafford Council’s contractors to focus on the appearance of the town centre, and will also be partnering with six local schools on the ‘Eco Schools’ education programme and with ‘Our Altrincham’ on voluntary litter picks.
Examples of how businesses can be involved include reviewing the look of their premises and ensuring their customer service is where they want it to be, through optional mystery shops. They will also be offered support if they would like to spring clean their social media.
The BID will be producing the town’s first ‘High Street Festival’ which will also take place between 12-8pm in the town centre on Friday 17th May, which will be open and free for everyone.
Altrincham is announced as England’s best high street in November:
Announcing our first Champion high street winner! The Champion for England is Altrincham Town Centre! Altrincham was recognised for its ongoing events throughout the year to drive footfall to the local high street. Congratulations! #MyHighStreet @TraffordCouncil pic.twitter.com/1Hty28oyS4
— The GB High St (@TheGBHighSt) November 15, 2018
While visits to UK town centres are down 17% over the past decade and online shopping is rising 10% a year, Altrincham’s footfall has steadily increased over the last five years, and even visits for the first quarter of this year are up 10.7% on the same period last year.
Elizabeth Faulkner, The BID Manager for Altrincham Unlimited, said: “We know Altrincham is not perfect and, like any other town, has its challenges. So many individuals and businesses have said they want to work together in partnership to try and make the town ‘look & feel’ the best it can for the 17th May and continue the initiative on a day-by-day basis in the future. We’re thrilled to have been invited by Sir John Timpson to be the pilot town as it gives us all something to work towards.”
Richard Roe, Corporate Director for Place at Trafford Council, said: “Building on the Great British High Street success, this is yet another national plaudit for the town which the Council fully supports. We will be working closely with Altrincham Unlimited to make the day a success, and a model that we can further develop going forward.”