Town centre audit

Town centre audit and street market review to support regeneration

We engaged with business and council stakeholders across Ilford town centre to understand their part in the changing town centre offer and how it would be impacted by large-scale developments over the next five years .


To understand how the town centre would be impacted by large-scale developments planned for the town centre in the next five years and to explore a new model of operation markets and events by:

  • Engaging with new partners to understand how the town centre will change with their arrival, especially around the creation of an evening economy
  • Meeting with existing partners including the council’s heads of service, Ilford BID, leisure and hospitality businesses and the council’s engineering partner
  • Considering the context of public realm works and how they will impact and shape the town centre
  • Engaging stakeholders to gain views from users of the town centre as to what facilities they would like to see on offer (workers, shoppers, businesses and market traders)
  • Working with the public realm and highways teams to spec facilities for the High Road that would create a multifunctional space
  • Reviewing street market legislation and operational models across London alongside internal costs and management for an existing market
  • Drafting new street market policies alongside a tender document for a new operator with a cabinet paper to support change


The project outcomes shaped a new approach for how the town centre would be used and marketed after the public realm works were complete and the new developments went live. This included:

  • Recommendations for how the town centre could be used for an events and employment enterprise programme post public realms work
  • A stakeholder management model for closer working relationships between existing partners – the BID, council departments and commercial venues – and incoming partners as part of the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund
  • A revised street layout developed with the council’s engineering partner to maximise use of the High Road as a multifunctional space to active the High Road year-round and to support the drive to make Redbridge a child friendly borough
  • Proposals to engage local people via an enhanced communications programme attracting them to the town centre and to support enterprise opportunities via empty units and a new market

Market-related outputs included:

  • A comprehensive report and set of recommendations to create a strong governance model for a new street market under new legislation (The Food Act) which also took account of the charter held by the neighbouring authority
  • Tender and procurement documents developed to attract applications from market operators alongside a set of policies
  • A cabinet briefing paper with a recommended approach on the borough’s street market model for the future

The transformation of the High Road took place throughout the Covid-19 lockdown period. When we revisited in 2022 it was great to see so many improvements to the town centre now complete. The council is in the process of tendering for a new market operator.

Diane’s insight and expertise has laid the groundwork for an exciting part of Ilford’s regeneration.

Sharon Strutt, Head of Regeneration, London Borough of Redbridge

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Engagement, High streets, Markets, Retail