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Effective local partnerships: Withington Village

One of the shops painted as part of the Withington Walls project

Withington has been in the news of late, mainly thanks to the Withington Walls project and the completion of a Marcus Rashford mural in the Village (featured on Match on the Day). This is an example of one several projects instigated by a highly effective local partnership, which the IPM has been working with as part of the INTERREG funded project – ABCitEs.

This project, involving a network of five municipality-university partnerships across the EU (Amsterdam, Athens, Manchester, Varaždin/Čakovec, and Vilnius), provides an opportunity for each of the cities to exchange ideas and knowledge about ABCE (Area-Based Collaborative Enterprise). Each partnership is analysing how local traders and other place-based stakeholders collaborate to bring about place-based improvements to the local business environment. Findings from the project are informing the development of new policy guidance, which will enable each local authority to better support clusters of local businesses in places such as local high streets.

In Manchester, the project has enabled the IPM to continue working with Manchester City Council, building on the Vital and Viable Neighbourhood Programme (read the final report here), that explored ways in which the City could better support district centres and local high streets.

For the INTERREG project, the IPM has been analysing the district centre of Withington, which has been identified as an example of good practice in Europe. The project partners agreed to produce a video showcasing one of the projects involved in ABCitiEs. Manchester City Council commissioned local company Formworks to produce the video - using Withington Baths as the location for the interviews. See the video below:

As the video reveals, the formation of the Withington Village Partnership and the We Are Withington traders association, has been instrumental in delivering a number of small-scale, low-cost place based interventions to incrementally improve the appearance of the local centre. Together with adaptions to trading times and linking vacant properties to potential users, the partnership has helped change the image and reputation of Withington as a place.

These local networks are now well placed to deliver wider strategic regeneration and tackle complex issues in the Village, with public consultation now taking place on the proposed Withington Village Framework.  Withington was also one of 14 of centres selected as a pilot by the High Streets Taskforce.

Other places can learn a lot from the approach taken by local people and traders in Withington. Effective partnerships in the centre have organised and aligned stakeholders, and working together they have brought about positive change to their local high street.


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Formed in 2006, the Institute of Place Management is the international professional body that supports people committed to developing, managing and making places better.

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