Academics set to give new life to Leeds high street

MARKET TOWN: Academics will be studying the high street in Morley and nine other towns in order to boost footfall and trade.
MARKET TOWN: Academics will be studying the high street in Morley and nine other towns in order to boost footfall and trade.
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Business academics are on a mission to help give Morley’s high street a whole new lease of life.

Researchers from Manchester Metropolitan University are leading a pioneering £250,000 project to breathe new life into the high street over the next six years, called High Street UK 2020.

Morley is one of 10 towns from across the country to be selected as part of the scheme.

Researchers will examine how many shoppers visit the Leeds market town, what it has to offer and draw up a list of suggestions to help boost and promote trade.

Rachel Kennedy, Morley town events manager, said she hopes the project will help showcase what the area has to offer.

She said: “Morley has been working hard with partners such as the White Rose Centre and Morley Town Council to help put it firmly on the map as a destination for retail.

“It is all about promoting the town and getting people to come and shop here because Morley has actually got a lot to offer.

“Ultimately we want people to think about Morley as the place to come not just for shopping but also for leisure and culture.”

Councillor Neil Dawson (Morley, Lab) added: “It’s great that Morley has been chosen for this.

“With the still lingering effects of the recession we need every bit of help that we can get.

“We need to encourage more visitors and shoppers into the town. It is essential for the lifeblood of Morley.”

Professor Cathy Parker, chairman of marketing and retail enterprise at the university and co-researcher for Parliament’s ‘High Street Britain 2015’ report, is leading the project.

She said: “The project will focus on understanding the changing nature of retail along with getting to grips with changes in high street space usage and what forces are influencing changes.

“We want to identify a variety of appropriate and sustainable interventions available to make an alternative, sustainable future for their high street in 2020.”

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