The future of the High Street and ways to meet the challenges was discussed at the Angel Islington BID annual meeting this morning.

Area businesses and organisations gathered at Frederick’s restaurant in Camden Passage to hear Ojay McDonald, Chief Executive of the Association of Town & City Management, talk about ‘The high street, past, present and future’, and also from Victoria Lawson, Chief Executive of Islington Council.

Mr McDonald acknowledged the last few years had been a challenging time for small businesses and a “retail revival” was not on the horizon with many closures common.

Using global internet star Ryan Kaji, who reviews toys on his YouTube channel, as an example, Mr McDonald said people like Ryan were changing the face of retail, with technology and online interaction increasingly driving buying habits on platforms such as TikTok.

He added it was not just about B2C but also now C2C with online marketplaces such as Vinted growing with consumers selling direct to consumers.

“It means retail can’t rely on bringing people to the High Street. The challenge is keeping up with the change,” he said.

He added a coordinated effort was needed by all stakeholders in an area including businesses, landlords and others.

Next, Ms Lawson, who started at Chief Executive at Islington Council in January, this year, told the gathering of around 40 people how impressed she was with the richness and variety of businesses in the Angel area.

“This doesn’t happen by accident but requires nurturing, dialogue and investment, [and] the BID is a big part of that. We’re here to support and nurture that,” she said.

She also gave special recognition to the hard work carried out by the Council’s street cleansing team, which keep the BID areas clean and tidy. Ms Lawson also emphasised how safety was a joint priority and said it was important for retailers to report incidences of shoplifting to the police.

Angel Islington BID Chief Executive Ben Stephenson rounded off the meeting with a reminder of the BID’s missions and working groups, including the Angel Responsible Business Network and Culture & Marketing Group. He also summarised highlights over the last year including the BID’s new place identity branding.

The BID also launched its Mid-Term Review survey for members to complete online. Responses will help shape the BID’s future direction and priorities. Scan the QR code below to take part.

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