Webinar: Repurposing the High Street

This first in the series of three webinars looking at repurposing retail will focus on the bigger picture, the holistic approach that is needed to get coordinated strategies in place, and deals with the repurposing of the high street first of all.


Retail has always been subject to change, and COVID-19 has only accelerated the transformation determining how much physical retail space is needed where and for what purpose. Challenges such as fragmented ownership, costs and planning will be explored, as well as how the stores are used is changing. 
Speakers and panellists will have practical examples of what those types of use realistically might be, and how it can be done in practice. The boundaries of what is possible are not forgotten. A one-size-fits all approach does not exist, but some inspirational ideas from practitioners and planners will offer plenty of food for thought.

The webinar series continues with ‘Repurposing Retail Parks’ on Wednesday 20 January 2021 (1-2pm) and ‘Repurposing Shopping Centres and Department Stores’ on Thursday 11 February 2021 (1-2pm).


Cleo Folkes, Founder, Property Overview Ltd - Cléo Folkes, a Dutch national, started Property Overview in late 2017, working in consultancy  as well as providing property-related training courses. Cleo has over 25 years’ worth of property experience working for a variety of institutions such as chartered surveyors, independent institutions like IPD (now MSCI), a private equity firm and a Middle Eastern Sovereign Wealth Fund. Cleo has worked in a rich variety of roles, mainly focusing on research & strategy, but has also worked in capital raising, change management and business development. Current and previous market focus has been across asset classes and on a Global level as well as on a Pan-European, German, Dutch and UK-only basis.  She speaks fluent English, Dutch and German. Cléo holds an MA in Economic Geography and is a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA).  Cleo previously spent nine years as Research Manager at St Martins, the global property-investment arm of the Kuwait Investment Authority, where she was responsible for global research and strategy, which encompassed overseeing house-views, quarterly reporting, producing the annual report, the investment process & associated risk including setting hurdle rates, performance calculation and analysis and bespoke in-depth research projects.


Matthew Hopkinson
, Co-Founder, Didobi - Matthew Hopkinson is a Director and Co-Founder of Didobi, a company that advises on the implementation, interpretation and monetisation of data assets in the commercial real estate sector. He has over 20 years’ experience of working within market leading data businesses within the UK. He is a well-respected and trusted commentator on UK retailing and its places. He is a regular contributor to national and trade media outlets. In 2013, he was a co-author of The Grimsey Review – An Alternative Future For The High Street. He was also a co-author of The Grimsey Review 2 which will be published in the summer of 2018. From 2009 to 2017 he was a director at The Local Data Company where he established it as the UK’s leading data and insights company in the retail property sector. From 2003 to 2008 he was the Operations Director for CoStar Group in the UK where he led the expansion of the research team and integration of the technology platforms with the US parent. He worked for FOCUS (Property Intelligence) from 1997 to 2003 where he started as a sales executive and became the operations director. Prior to this he was an Infantry officer serving with the Queen’s Own Highlanders and Royal Marines from 1990 to 1997. Matthew is a Visiting Professor at University College London and sits on the Research Advisory Board of Nottingham Business School. He is a volunteer business mentor for The Prince’s Trust in the East Midlands. In 2018 he was a Finalist in the Innovator of the Year Award category for the British Ex-Forces in Business Awards.

Martyn Saunders, Director - Regeneration & Spatial Planning, Avison Young - Martyn leads a range of urban change, regeneration and delivery projects on behalf of public and private clients.  He advises across the UK on high street and town centre evolution, both from a strategic masterplan perspective and also (more recently) helping town centres plan for a post-COVID recovery.  He is currently leading advice in locations as diverse as Rugby, Romford, Luton, Bexleyheath, Birkenhead and Hounslow.  More widely he works with clients to identify future demand and opportunities for a range of residential and non-residential uses – including workspace, industrial, retail, leisure and cultural facilities – as well as supporting investment decisions through bespoke estimates of economic and wider benefits.

Justin Bass, Health Spaces by Inivos - Justin has held board positions within PLC businesses and private business and now holds several non-executive positions alongside his work at Inivos Health Spaces. His experience has been drawn from the last 22 years as a Director. Justin’s specialism has been as a Managing Director in turnaround situations and from start up through to sales and succession. Justin’s most recent experience has been as Managing Director and main board position within one of the UK’s largest commercial office fit out and refurbishment business. Responsibilities include chairman at all the group’s board meetings and special projects which have included Merger and acquisition negotiation. Implementation of a group wide CRM system and setting up a global alliance of businesses to service major global clients. “This year we have seen the invaluable role of the NHS in the care and wellbeing of everyone. I am looking forward to bringing my expertise and knowledge to help both the NHS and retail economy in delivering a new concept of health spaces”.


Brian Bickell, Chief Executive, Shaftesbury PLC - Brian qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1976.  He joined Shaftesbury when it was formed in 1986, and was Finance Director from its float on the London Stock Exchange in 1987 until he became Chief Executive in 2011. Brian is Deputy Vice Chair of The Westminster Property Association and chairs its Transport and Infrastructure sub-committee. He is also a member of the board of Freehold, the London-based LGBT real estate professionals group and has recently become a trustee of the Young Westminster Foundation.


12/3/2020 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
GMT Standard Time

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