Morley town centre to be focus of £250,000 retail study

Cathy Parker, Director of the Retail Enterprise Network at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Cathy Parker, Director of the Retail Enterprise Network at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Morley town centre is set to become the focus of a quarter-of-a-million pound project to breathe new life into its retail sector.

Business academics have chosen 10 town centres throughout the UK, including Morley, to analyse over the next six years.

Queen Street, Morley.

Queen Street, Morley.

The project, High Street UK 2020, hopes to shed light on the changing nature of retail and the forces which are shaping our high street, such as internet shopping.

When it was suggested that Morley could be one of the town’s chosen in a national retail project, the Chamber grabbed the opportunity by the horns.

Researchers from Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) are leading the pioneering research in collaboration with the town and several others.

The project, named High Street UK 2020, will gather insight and knowledge about the changing nature of retail and it will give Morley access to the information so that it can make sustainable plans for the future. Town Events Manager Rachael Kennedy said she hopes the project will help showcase what the area has to offer.

“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,” said Mrs Kennedy.

Coun Neil Dawson 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.”

Knowledge of the town will be exchanged through a series of workshops, seminars and an online support centre which will then be available free-of-charge to local partnerships.

Academics will start on the project later this month with workshops starting in February, until December 2014.