The Future of our Town Centres - an exclusive one-day conference

Town Centre Conference

Never have our town centres faced so many challenges and never have they needed to change so rapidly. What must our town centres become in order to survive and thrive?

Scarborough Borough Council is hosting an exclusive, invitation only, one-day conference on Friday 9 July to help you get answers to this crucial question and be part of the conversation.

The Future of our Town Centres will bring together respected and influential speakers to present to an audience of key influencers.

Keynote speaker at the conference will be Bill Grimsey, a former CEO of Wickes and Iceland and author of four separate reviews into the future of UK high streets and also his acclaimed book ”Who Killed the High Street”. Bill will talk about his reviews and in particular share his thoughts and findings from his latest work into the role of the independent sector.

We are also delighted to welcome Joe Barrett, co-founder of The Teenage Market - a free platform supporting the next generation of market traders and bringing an influx of energy, vibrancy and diversity to towns throughout the UK.

Also speaking at the conference will be Mike McGrother, acclaimed community 'fixer' and collaborator, and Mike Greene, CEO of Scarborough Borough Council, who will present the borough’s plans and aspirations for its town centres.

Mike Greene

Mike leads all aspects of council business supporting a diverse area of outstanding natural beauty, urban areas, rural and coastal communities.

Mike is currently spearheading an innovative approach to regeneration (“Building a Better Borough”), bringing together a multisector regeneration partnership to re-profile and reimagine town centres in the borough to meet the challenges of future.

Over his career, Mike has led the implementation of significant organisational and place-based change across a number of local authorities, covering metropolitan areas, rural communities, heavy industrialised areas in Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and the Tess Valley.

Mike is passionate about public services and the positive difference they make to local people.  He believes that now more than ever, in the world of post-Covid recovery, the economy and communities need the visible, caring and effective leadership of its local authority to drive forward social and economic development.

Chris JacksonHosting the conference, keeping it on track and facilitating the speaker panel Q&A, will be Chris Jackson, the face of the BBC’s investigative journalism in the North East of England for almost 2 decades. As a producer and award-winning presenter with “Inside Out” he has worked both in front of and behind the camera reporting on the big issues of the day and holding those in authority to account.

In a career spanning 40 years Chris has regularly produced network documentaries and has been the regional evening news anchor on Look North (North East & Cumbria). He is deeply rooted in the region and has reported on all aspects of life including the changing face of our high streets and the struggle of town centres to adapt and thrive. Chris left the BBC at the end of last year and is now freelance.

The conference promises to be a superb opportunity to hear from a range of stimulating, challenging and controversial speakers. Delegates will be encouraged to contribute their views, ideas and questions during a round-table session and a speaker panel Q&A at the end of the conference.

Spaces at this conference are strictly limited and are by invitation only.

The conference will take place on Friday 9 July at Scarborough Spa, the town's entertainment and conferencing venue, which is located on the beautiful South Bay with breath-taking sea views. 

The conference will start at 10.00am when delegates can collect their bespoke welcome pack and enjoy a cup of tea/coffee and breakfast pastry (delegates are very welcome to join us from 9.45am).  A delicious lunch will also be provided and the conference will finish at 3.30pm to allow time to enjoy a walk along the glorious seafront and up into the town centre before returning home.

Scarborough SpaIf the thought of only one day on the wonderful Yorkshire coast isn't enough, why not take advantage of the opportunity to stay for the weekend in one of the area's fabulous hotels or guest houses. Get inspriation for where to stay and what to see and do on our Discover Yorkshire Coast website.

We will be video and audio recording throughout the conference and will use the footage in subsequent promotional activity. If you don't want to be recorded, please make this known to one of the event organisers on the day.

If you have any questions about the conference, please email us on


The Future of our Town Centres - an exclusive one-day conference